The new cover for The New Yorker magazine features a cartoon of presidential candidate Barack Obama. In the drawing Obama is wearing a turban as an American flag burns in the fireplace. He is fistbumping his gun toting wife.
NEW LOOK FOR AN OLD MAGAZINE
It seems that the only way the formerly iconic sports publication The Sporting News can make news these days is by going out of business. Or at least “relaunching.”
After a series of sales, TSN is barely hanging on. The magazine this week announced it is switching publication of its magazine from every week to twice a month. According to an article in the New York Times the new edition of The Sporting News will feature “more color, better paper and a slew of name columnists.”
The Sporting News’ idea of a “big-name” columnist includes former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, former MLB pitcher Ron Darling, and New York Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner. Those are hardly the type of columnists that will increase circulation and web hits. Worse, they’re not even writing in every issue. The “big names” will be “semiregular” contributors. So, even if I wanted to read a Hank Steinbrenner column (which I don’t) I’d have two wait two weeks and then his column MIGHT appear in the publication. That’s hardly a model for business success.
The primary focus of The Sporting News will now be a “daily digital newsletter” called Sporting News Today. The newsletter will deliver scores and stats via e-mail to subscribers every morning. This too is a failed business model. Why would I wait until the next morning to get scores and PAY to do it when every FREE website in the country updates scores in real time? Why would I PAY to get statistics when every major sports site offers them faster and for free?
The Sporting News has also hired former Deadspin.com editor Will Leitch. It’s an effort to attract younger, hipper online readers. Typically, TSN hired Leitch AFTER he left Deadspin instead of while he was still the biggest force in online sports blogging. It’s literally another example of too little, too late.
There was a time (before the internet, ESPN and the USA Today sports section) when hardcore sports fans got their information from The Sporting News. They were the “baseball bible.” TSN BLEW AWAY their competition in its baseball coverage. There was a feature column on every Major League team each week. TSN also invented the baseball notes column, running news about every team in its publication. They were also the first national publication to hire Peter Gammons as a baseball insider and had the biggest name columnists in the country like Dick Young and Joe Falls. They even had every box score and were the only source of major and minor league stats.
In point of disclosure I’ve actually done some work for The Sporting News and their radio network. I was also a HUGE fan of the publication while growing up in the 70’s. I remember the magazine used to offer “lifetime subscriptions” for $60. Unfortunately, that was an insurmountable number of lawns to mow as a kid growing up in the early 70’s. I never quite made it to the 60 bucks. Back then “lifetime” access to the information provided by The Sporting News seemed like a dream to a kid growing up in the 70’s.
The Sporting News used to matter. Unfortunately that day is long gone.
SI CURSE? JASON AND JOUMANA KIDD WENT THROUGH ONE OF THE MESSIEST DIVORCES IN SPORTS HISTORY
Just how far does the Sports Illustrated curse go?
WWW.SPORTSBYBROOKS.COM has found an awesome link on the internet.
The blog http://www.yourfaceisasportsblog.com has a piece entitled, “In Search of the Curse of the SI Swimsuit Issue Couples.”
The article puts forth the hysterical proposition that, much like individuals who are on the SI cover itself, couples who posed for the magazine’s Swimsuit Issues are cursed.
Although highly satirical the article makes a pretty compelling case. Here are some famous “cursed” sports couples that posed for the SI Swimuit Issues:
MR. AND MRS. MARK MCGWIRE
A disproportionate number of athletes who posed with their wives turned out to be involved with steroids. It wasn’t just the McGwires:
MR. AND MRS. BILL ROMANOWSKI
MR. AND (PROBABLY SOON TO BE EX) MRS. ROGER CLEMENS
The most famous “cursed” couple of all.
MR. AND MRS. CHUCK FINLEY
Before SI: Angels pitcher Chuck Finley and his actress wife, Tawny Kitaen (known for her work in Whitesnake music videos) were Hollywood’s IT couple.
MR. AND MRS. GLEN RICE
Before SI: NBA player Glen Rice and his wife were two of the beautiful people.
After SI: Rice catches his wife in bed with another man who was hiding in the couple’s closet.
Today’s New York Times has awesome news from Sports Illustrated:
Starting THIS Thursday the magazine will introduce The Vault, a free site within SI.com that contains all the words Sports Illustrated has ever published and many of the images, along with video and other material, in a searchable database.
SI may not be able to compete with contemporary media organizations, but THEY OWN THE PAST, baby!
According to the New York Times:
Sports Illustrated, which faces fierce daily, even hourly, competition with ESPN, Yahoo! Sports and others, has something its main rivals do not: a 53-year trove of articles and photos, most of it from an era when the magazine dominated the field of long-form sports writing and color sports photography.
Update: I’ve been playing around with the SI site, and some of this stuff is pretty cool. Did you know you can call up any cover in the history of the magazine?
Playing with these magazine covers is fun and addicting. But where does it end?