Sports Illustrated

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A weekly magazine in the USA, dedicated to sports, and selling 3 million copies to subscribers, reaching a readership claimed at over 23 million adults, mostly men. Sports Illustrated (SI) was first published on 16 August 1954, and its atmospheric full-colour cover featured a night-time baseball game between the Milwaukee Braves and the New York Giants, a clever pitch to the national market, embracing the Midwest as well as the metropolitan east coast, and combining the tradition of the national game with the modernity of its depiction. It was more than a decade before Time Warner's new title became profitable; when it did, though, it was spectacularly successful, part of a consumer boom and the integration of a new broadcast television market and complementary print media.

From the beginning, SI set out to be more than just a sports magazine, but to be ‘the sports magazine’. Defying the intellectual and cultural superciliousness of other writers in the company, SI promoted talented writers to research in-depth sport stories, attracted established names to contribute features, and combined creative illustration with innovative photography. In 1964 it launched—this was to become a matter of controversy among liberals, progressives, and feminists—its swimsuit issue. Time Warner used the Sports Illustrated brand for its sponsorship of several Olympic Games, in The Olympic Programme (TOP) that remade the financial basis of the Olympics. In 1983, the magazine became the USA's first full-colour weekly. Critics argue that SI has lost its sharpness at the cutting edge of sport writing and sport journalism, but despite the competition of the multimedia market and 24-hour sports news and broadcasting, it has sustained its profile in the marketplace, and retains the capacity to spark debate and controversy within the widespread constituency of sports fans; much of its success lies in its consistent pitch to the male-dominated and still loyal national readership.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/ The archive of the magazine, including access to all magazine covers and stories.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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