Sports Illustrated

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Sports Illustrated
Sportsillustrated firstissue.jpg
The first issue of Sports Illustrated, showing Milwaukee Braves star Eddie Mathews at bat and New York Giants catcher Wes Westrum in Milwaukee County Stadium.
Editor, Time Inc. Sports Group Paul Fichtenbaum
Staff writers
Categories Sports magazine
Frequency Weekly
Publisher Brendan Ripp
Total circulation
(December 2013)
3,023,197[1]
First issue August 16, 1954
Company Time Inc.
Country United States
Based in New York, USA
Language English
Website www.SI.com
ISSN 0038-822X

Sports Illustrated is an American sports media franchise owned by Time Inc. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men.[2] It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the National Magazine Award for General Excellence twice. Its swimsuit issue, which has been published since 1964, is now an annual publishing event that generates its own television shows, videos and calendars.

History[edit]

There were two magazines named Sports Illustrated before the current magazine began in 1954. In 1936, Stuart Scheftel created Sports Illustrated with a target market for the sportsman. He published the magazine from 1936-1938 on a monthly basis. The magazine was a life magazine size and focused on golf, tennis, and skiing with articles on the major sports. He then sold the name to Dell Publications, which released Sports Illustrated in 1949 and this version lasted 6 issues before closing. Dell's version focused on major sports (Baseball, Basketball, Boxing) and competed on magazine racks against Sport and other monthly sports magazines. During the 1940s these magazines were monthly and they did not cover the current events because of the production schedules. There was no large-base general weekly sports magazine with a national following on actual active events. It was then that Time patriarch Henry Luce began considering whether his company should attempt to fill that gap. At the time, many believed sports was beneath the attention of serious journalism and did not think sports news could fill a weekly magazine, especially during the winter. A number of advisers to Luce, including Life magazine's Ernest Havemann, tried to kill the idea, but Luce, who was not a sports fan, decided the time was right.[3]

The goal of the new magazine was to be "not a sports magazine, but the sports magazine". Many at Time-Life scoffed at Luce's idea; in his Pulitzer Prize–winning biography, Luce and His Empire, W. A. Swanberg wrote that the company's intellectuals dubbed the proposed magazine "Muscle", "Jockstrap", and "Sweat Socks". Launched on August 16, 1954, it was not profitable (and would not be so for 12 years)[4] and not particularly well run at first, but Luce's timing was good. The popularity of spectator sports in the United States was about to explode, and that popularity came to be driven largely by three things: Economic prosperity, television, and Sports Illustrated.[citation needed]

Mark Ford, President of the Sports Illustrated Group in 2010.
The Logo of Sports Illustrated Magazine

The early issues of the magazine seemed caught between two opposing views of its audience. Much of the subject matter was directed at upper class activities such as yachting, polo and safaris, but upscale would-be advertisers were unconvinced that sports fans were a significant part of their market.[5]

After more than a decade of steady losses, the magazine's fortunes finally turned around in the 1960s when Andre Laguerre became its managing editor. A European correspondent for Time, Inc., who later became chief of the Time-Life news bureaus in Paris and London (for a time he ran both simultaneously), Laguerre attracted Henry Luce's attention in 1956 with his singular coverage of the Winter Olympic Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, which became the core of SI's coverage of those games. In May 1956, Luce brought Laguerre to New York to become assistant managing editor of the magazine. He was named managing editor in 1960, and he more than doubled the circulation by instituting a system of departmental editors, redesigning the internal format, and inaugurating the unprecedented use in a news magazine of full-color photographic coverage of the week's sports events. He was also one of the first to sense the rise of national interest in professional football.[6]

Laguerre also instituted the innovative concept of one long story at the end of every issue, which he called the "bonus piece". These well-written, in-depth articles helped to distinguish Sports Illustrated from other sports publications, and helped launch the careers of such legendary writers as Frank Deford, who in March 2010 wrote of Laguerre, "He smoked cigars and drank Scotch and made the sun move across the heavens ... His genius as an editor was that he made you want to please him, but he wanted you to do that by writing in your own distinct way."[7]

Laguerre is also credited with the conception and creation of the annual Swimsuit Issue, which quickly became, and remains, the most popular issue each year.

Innovations[edit]

From its start, Sports Illustrated introduced a number of innovations that are generally taken for granted today:

  • Liberal use of color photos—though the six-week lead time initially meant they were unable to depict timely subject matter
  • Scouting reports—including a World Series Preview and New Year's Day bowl game round-up that enhanced the viewing of games on television
  • In-depth sports reporting from writers like Robert Creamer, Tex Maule and Dan Jenkins.
  • Regular illustration features by artists like Robert Riger.
  • High school football Player of the Month awards.
  • Inserts of sports cards in the center of the magazine (1954 & 1955)
  • 1994 Launched Sports Illustrated Interactive CD-ROM with StarPress Multimedia, Incorporates player stats, video and highlights from the year in sports.

Color printing[edit]

The magazine's photographers also made their mark with innovations like putting cameras in the goal at a hockey game and behind a glass backboard at a basketball game. In 1965, offset printing began to allow the color pages of the magazine to be printed overnight, not only producing crisper and brighter images, but also finally enabling the editors to merge the best color with the latest news. By 1967, the magazine was printing 200 pages of "fast color" a year; in 1983, SI became the first American full-color newsweekly. An intense rivalry developed between photographers, particularly Walter Iooss and Neil Leifer, to get a decisive cover shot that would be on news-stands and in mailboxes only a few days later.[8]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, during Gil Rogin's term as Managing Editor, the feature stories of Frank Deford became the magazine's anchor. "Bonus pieces" on Pete Rozelle, Woody Hayes, Bear Bryant, Howard Cosell and others became some of the most quoted sources about these figures, and Deford established a reputation as one of the best writers of the time.[9]

Regular segments[edit]

Who's Hot, Who's Not: A feature on who's on a tear and who's in a slump.

Inside the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, College Football, College Basketball, NASCAR, Golf, Boxing, Horse Racing, Soccer and Tennis (sports vary from issue to issue) has the writers from each sport to address the latest news and rumors in their respective fields.

Faces in the Crowd: honors talented amateur athletes and their accomplishments.

The Point After: A back-page column featuring a rotation of SI writers as well as other contributors. Content varies from compelling stories to challenging opinion, focusing on both the world of sports and the role sports play in society.

Creative freedom that the staff had enjoyed seemed to diminish. By the 1980s and 1990s, the magazine had become more profitable than ever, but many also believed it had become more predictable. Mark Mulvoy was the first top editor whose background contained nothing but sports; he had grown up as one of the magazine's readers, but he had no interest in fiction, movies, hobbies or history. Mulvoy's top writer Rick Reilly had also been raised on SI and followed in the footsteps of many of the great writers that he grew up admiring, but many felt that the magazine as a whole came to reflect Mulvoy's complete lack of sophistication. Mulvoy also hired the current creative director Chrisopher Hercik. Critics said that it rarely broke (or even featured) stories on the major controversies in sports (drugs, violence, commercialism) any more, and that it focused on major sports and celebrities to the exclusion of other topics.[10]

Just My Type which one athlete gets interviewed in each sports illustrated The proliferation of "commemorative issues" and subscription incentives seemed to some like an exchange of journalistic integrity for commercial opportunism. More importantly, perhaps, many feel that 24-hour-a-day cable sports television networks and sports news web sites have forever diminished the role a weekly publication can play in today's world, and that it is unlikely any magazine will ever again achieve the level of prominence that SI once had.[11]

Nevertheless, Sports Illustrated remains the predominant sports publication in print journalism with a consistent weekly circulation topping 8 million per issue.[12]

Sportsman of the Year[edit]

Main article: Sportsman of the Year

Since its inception in 1954, Sports Illustrated magazine has annually presented the Sportsman of the Year award to "the athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement." Roger Bannister won the first ever Sportsman of the year award thanks to his record breaking time of 3:59.4 for a mile (the first ever time a mile had been run under four minutes).

Mike Krzyzewski & Pat Summitt were named co-sportsmen of the year for 2011 for their work as NCAA basketball coaches. Drew Brees was the sportsman of the year for 2010. He led the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl win after the 2009 season. Derek Jeter was Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year in 2009. Jeter led the New York Yankees to their 27th World Series Title in 2009 while batting .334 in the regular season and taking home the 2009 Silver Slugger and Gold Glove for American League shortstops.

Sportsman of the Century[edit]

In 1999, Sports Illustrated named Muhammad Ali, the Sportsman of the Century, at the Sports Illustrated's 20th Century Sports Awards in New York's Madison Square Garden.[13]

All-decade awards and honors[edit]

Top sports colleges[edit]

For a 2002 list of the top 200 Division I sports colleges in the U.S., see footnote[15]

Cover history[edit]

The following list contains the athletes with most covers.[16]

The magazine's cover is the basis of a sports myth known as the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx. To find the number of times an athlete has appeared on the cover go to:


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Most covers by athlete, 1954-2012

Athlete Number of covers
Michael Jordan 50
Muhammad Ali 37
Tiger Woods 24
Magic Johnson 23
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 22
LeBron James 20
Tom Brady 19

Most covers by team, 1954-May 2008

Team Number of covers
Los Angeles Lakers 67
Dallas Cowboys 48
Boston Red Sox 46
Chicago Bulls 45
Boston Celtics 44
Los Angeles Dodgers 40
Cincinnati Reds 37
San Francisco 49ers 33

Most covers by sport, 1954-2009

Sport Number of covers
Baseball-MLB 628
Pro Football-NFL 550
Pro Basketball-NBA 325
College Football 202
College Basketball 181
Golf 155
Boxing 134
Hockey 100
Track and Field 99
Tennis 78

Celebrities on the cover, 1954-2010

Celebrity Year Special notes
Gary Cooper 1959 Scuba diving
Bob Hope 1963 Owner of Cleveland Indians
Shirley MacLaine 1964 Promoting the film John Goldfarb, Please Come Home
Steve McQueen 1971 Riding a motorcycle
Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson 1977 Promoting the film Semi-Tough
Big Bird 1977 On the cover with Mark Fidrych
Arnold Schwarzenegger 1987 Caption on cover was Softies
Chris Rock 2000 Wearing Los Angeles Dodgers hat
Stephen Colbert 2009 Caption: Stephen Colbert and his Nation save the Olympics
Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale 2010 Promoting the film The Fighter
Brad Pitt 2011 Promoting the film Moneyball

Fathers and sons who have been featured on the cover

Father Son(s)
Archie Manning Peyton & Eli Manning
Calvin Hill Grant Hill
Bobby Hull Brett Hull
Bill Walton Luke Walton
Jack Nicklaus Gary Nicklaus
Phil Simms Chris Simms
Dale Earnhardt Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Cal Ripken, Sr. Cal Ripken, Jr. & Billy Ripken
Mark McGwire his son Matt
Drew Brees his son Baylen
Boomer Esiason his son Gunnar
Chuck Liddell his son Cade

Presidents who have been featured on the cover

President SI cover date Special notes
John F. Kennedy December 26, 1960 First Lady Jackie Kennedy also on cover and Kennedy was President-Elect at the time of the cover.
Gerald Ford July 8, 1974 Cover came one month before President Richard Nixon announced he would resign from the Presidency.
Ronald Reagan November 26, 1984 On cover with Georgetown Hoyas basketball coach John Thompson and Patrick Ewing
Ronald Reagan February 16, 1987 On cover with America's Cup champion Dennis Conner
Bill Clinton March 21, 1994 On cover about the Arkansas college basketball team

Tribute covers (In Memoriam)

Athlete SI cover date Special notes
Len Bias June 30, 1986 Died of a cocaine overdose just after being drafted by the Boston Celtics
Arthur Ashe February 15, 1993 Tennis great and former US Open champion who died from AIDS
Reggie Lewis August 9, 1993 Celtics player who died due to a heart defect
Mickey Mantle August 21, 1995 Died after years of battling alcoholism
Walter Payton November 8, 1999 Died from rare liver disorder
Dale Earnhardt February 26, 2001 Died in a crash on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
Brittanie Cecil April 1, 2002 Fan killed as the result of being struck with a puck to the head while in the crowd at a Columbus Blue Jackets game
Ted Williams July 15, 2002 Boston Red Sox who died of cardiac arrest
Johnny Unitas September 23, 2002 Baltimore Colts great who died from heart attack
Pat Tillman May 3, 2004 Arizona Cardinals player who was killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan.
Ed Thomas July 6, 2009 Parkersburg, Iowa high school football coach that was gunned down by one of his former players on the morning of June 24, 2009.
John Wooden June 14, 2010 UCLA Basketball coaching legend who died of natural causes at 99 years of age.
Junior Seau May 2, 2012 NFL Football one of the greatest linebackers, suicide at 43 years of age

Writers[edit]

Photographers[edit]

Spinoffs[edit]

Sports Illustrated has helped launched a number of related publishing ventures, including:

  • Sports Illustrated Kids magazine (circulation 950,000)
    • Launched in January 1989
    • Won the "Distinguished Achievement for Excellence in Educational Publishing" award 11 times
    • Won the "Parents' Choice Magazine Award" 7 times
  • Sports Illustrated Almanac annuals
    • Introduced in 1991
    • Yearly compilation of sports news and statistics in book form
  • SI.com sports news web site
  • Sports Illustrated Australia
    • Launched in 1992 and lasted 6 issues **
  • Sports Illustrated Canadian edition
    • Was created and published in Canada with US content from 1993–1995. Most of the issues appear to have the same cover except the say 'Canadian Edition'. These issues are numbered differently in the listing. A group of the Canadian issues have unique Canadian Athletes (hockey mostly) and all the Canadian issues may have some different article content. The advertising may also be Canadian centric.
  • Sports Illustrated Presents
    • Launched in 1989
    • This is their tribute and special edition issues that are sold both nationally or regionally as stand alone products. **Originally started with Super Bowl Tributes the product became a mainstay in 1993 with Alabama as the NCAA National Football Champions. Today multiple issues are released including regional releases of the NCAA, NBA, NFL, MLB champions along with special events or special people. Advertising deals are also done with Sports Illustrated Presents (Kelloggs).
  • CNNSI.com a 24-hour sports news web site
    • Launched on July 17, 1997
    • Online version of the magazine
  • Sports Illustrated Women magazine (highest circulation 400,000)
    • Launched in March 2000
    • Ceased publication in December 2002 because of a weak advertising climate
  • Sports Illustrated on Campus magazine
    • Launched on September 4, 2003
    • Dedicated to college athletics and the sports interests of college students.
    • Distributed free on 72 college campuses through a network of college newspapers.
    • Circulation of one million readers between the ages of 18 and 24.
    • Ceased publication in December 2005 because of a weak advertising climate

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Consumer Magazines". Alliance for Audited Media. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ Plunkett, Jack W. (2006). Plunkett's Sports Industry Almanac 2007. Plunkett Research, Ltd. ISBN 1593924151. 
  3. ^ (MacCambridge 1997, pp. 17–25).
  4. ^ "Henry Luce and Time-Life's America: A Vision of Empire". American Masters, 28 April 2004.
  5. ^ (MacCambridge 1997, pp. 6, 27, 42).
  6. ^ Sutton, Kelso F. (January 29, 1979). "Letter From The Publisher". Sports Illustrated. 
  7. ^ Deford, Frank: "Sometimes the Bear Eats You: Confessions of a Sportswriter". Sports Illustrated, March 29, 2010 pp. 52–62.
  8. ^ (MacCambridge 1997, pp. 108–111, 139–141, 149–151, 236)
  9. ^ (MacCambridge 1997, pp. 236–238).
  10. ^ What's wrong with Sports Illustrated? by Josh Levin - Slate Magazine
  11. ^ (MacCambridge 1997, pp. 8–9, 268–273, 354–358, 394–398, 402–405)
  12. ^ Ryan Rager. "Sports Illustrated Magazine". Echo Media. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  13. ^ "Sports Illustrated honors world's greatest athletes". CNN. December 3, 1999. 
  14. ^ Kelly, Greg. Sports Illustrated: The Covers. New York, NY: Sports Illustrated Books, 2010. Print.
  15. ^ "America's Best Sports Colleges". Sports Illustrated. October 7, 2002. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  16. ^ Sports Illustrated covers
  17. ^ Robert Smithies, "Through a lens lightly" (obituary of Finlayson), The Guardian, 27 February 1999. Accessed 16 February 2013.
  18. ^ Search results for Finlayson, Sports Illustrated archive. Accessed 17 February 2013.

References[edit]

  • MacCambridge, Michael (1997), The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine, Hyperion Press, ISBN 0-7868-6216-5  .
  • Fleder, Rob (2005), Sports Illustrated 50: The Anniversary Book, Time Inc., ISBN 1-932273-49-2  .
  • Regli, Philip (1998), The Collectors Guide to Sports Illustrated and Sports Publications, Beckett, ISBN 1-887432-49-3  .

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]