April 1976 cover of womenSports with Olga Korbut
|Editor-in-Chief||Rosalie Muller Wright (1974-1975)|
|Publisher||womenSports Publishing Company (1974-1978)|
Women's Sports Foundation (1979-1998)
Condé Nast Publications (1998-2000)
|First issue||May 1974|
womenSports magazine was the first magazine dedicated to women in sports. It was launched in close conjunction with Billie Jean King's Women's Sports Foundation and each issue of the magazine contained a two-page article written by the executive director of the Foundation. It was started soon after Billie Jean’s win at the Battle of the Sexes.
Billie Jean and Larry King acted as publishers, while Jim Jorgensen was the company president. Rosalie Wright from Philadelphia magazine was hired as the magazine's editor-in-chief and brought on writers Anne Lamott, Jon Carroll and Greg Hoffman. During its design and launch phase, womenSports received help from Ms. Magazine publishers Pat Carbine and Gloria Steinem as well as celebrity PR executive Pat Kingsley.
The inaugural issue of womenSports (ISSN 0095-0661)in May 1974 featured Billie Jean King on the cover. Shortly after launch, womenSports reached a monthly circulation of 200,000. womenSports won a J.C. Penney-Missouri Award in 1974. (The J.C. Penney-Missouri Awards became the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards in 1994.)
Turnover began in 1975 when editor Wright was fired for refusing to print an article written by an advertiser and not marked as such. She was replaced by Cheryl McCall from the Detroit Free Press. womenSports was sold to the Charter Company, then owner of Redbook, in 1976 and the company’s offices were moved to New York from San Francisco. Then-editor McCall stayed with the magazine, but soon left to become an editor at People magazine. Cutler Durkee moved with the magazine to New York City, then from womenSports to People where he became its executive editor.
Women's Sports and Fitness
After Charter ceased publication of womenSports, the Kings reclaimed ownership of the magazine and began publishing it through the Women's Sports Foundation as Women's Sports (ISSN 0163-7428), publishing it monthly from 1979 through 1984. In 1984 the magazine moved to bimonthly publication and subsequently changed its name to Women's Sports and Fitness (ISSN 8750-653X).
Condé Nast Women's Sports and Fitness
Condé Nast Publications acquired Women's Sports + Fitness in 1998 and rolled its monthly Condé Nast Sports for Women into it to form bimonthly magazine titled Condé Nast Women's Sports and Fitness (ISSN 1099-6079). The magazine continued under that tile through 2000, when Condé Nast closed the magazine. It was folded into Self in late 2000.
- American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors - Rosalie Muller Wright.
- "The Belles' Toll". Time. January 09, 1978.
- Dougherty, Philip H (1986-06-30). "Advertising; New Name, New Hope For Women's Sports". New York Times: D11.
- Pogrebin, Robin (1998-01-13). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Conde Nast Buys a Magazine; Will Alter Sports for Women". New York Times: D7.