The New York Times reports that Sports Illustrated is taking its franchise–the always anticpated swimsuit issue–to the new media tree.
In addition to the magazine, which appears on newsstands tomorrow, and on the Web site at sportsillustrated.com., fans will also be able to purchase any of eight specially produced videos from iTunes.com, Apple’s online store, for $1.99 each, or download content to a cellphone or to a hand-held device, through a partnership Sports Illustrated has made with American Greetings Interactive.
Mark Ford, the president and publisher of Sports Illustrated, estimates that newsstand sales of the issue will be around 1.5 million copies, which, when added to the 3.3 million subscribers, is a paid readership of 4.8 million. Mr. Ford said that 60 million people or so would read the issue, however, making it the most widely read single issue of any magazine in the world. The swimsuit issue sells for $5.99, compared with the magazine’s regular price of $3.50.
“It is the mother ship of what we do. We want to leverage the power of that franchise,” said Mr. Ford, “Sports Illustrated is a multimedia brand. It’s a magazine, it’s online, it’s mobile, it’s an event.” Additionally, the magazine has promotional events planned around the country with the beer company, Anheuser-Busch, and with Jay Leno, who will unveil the issue on the “Tonight” show tonight.
Way to keep your head in the game, SI.