Sports Illustrated Subscriptions

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Though some might argue that Sports Illustrated's greatest days are behind her, there is no question that SI remains the most influential sports magazine on the planet. After all, it has the third highest circulation of any weekly magazine in the United States, boasting over three million subscribers. And of course, it produces the riotously popular annual Swimsuit Issue around which every year enormous buzz is generated via television specials, commemorative videos, and calendars.

Sports Illustrated: Redefining Sports Journalism

Sports Illustrated is yet another brainchild of the publishing genius Henry Luce, who founded Time magazine. At the time, popular opinion held that sports journalism was not and could not be considered "serious" journalism. But Luce turned that idea on its head.

Sports Illustrated led the wave of many now standard innovations in magazine publishing. Luce called for liberal use of color photographs and exciting photography angles (such as placing a photographer right in the goal line), scouting reports which enhanced the understanding of what went on "behind the scenes" of major sports, and recruitment of top-notch investigative journalists who created an entirely new standard for all sports coverage. In fact, Sports Illustrated is credited with actually helping to raise the enthusiasm of Americans for spectator sports.

Henry Luce died in 1967, and many say that Sports Illustrated's creative coverage suffered as a result. New editors in chief have been "less sophisticated" in their views, though they have certainly made the magazine increasingly profitable. Though very few would refer to SI as one of "best written magazines on the market" any more, it continues to have as much of an impact on sports as any magazine can, in this age of 24 hour a day sports channels and websites devoted exclusively to sports news. Sports Illustrated, whether faded in glory from its earlier days or not, remains the last word in print sports journalism.

In addition to its estimated three million subscribers, Sports Illustrated has also "fathered" several well-regarded spin-offs. The most notable is oft-award winning Sports Illustrated for Kids, with an estimated circulation of 950,000. Also popular are their Almanacs, published annually with all the highs and lows in sports from the previous year, as well as a new publication, Sports Illustrated on Campus, which devotes itself to collegiate athletics.


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