Why do sports magazines appeal to publishers? Well, they inevitably touch on cultural hot points like race, gender, and celebrity, and dramatic photo opportunities abound. Perhaps most importantly, a never-ending supply of statistics means there’s always fodder for the definitive form of late ’90s magazine expression—the chart. While sports have always snagged adult male consumers, new players in the genre are reaching futher out. Herwith, a scouting report.
|SPORTS ILLUSTRATED||ESPN||CONDÉ NAST SPORTS FOR WOMEN||HECKLER||SLAM|
|Spiritual mascot||Dan Marino||Tiger Woods||“Most glamorous sportswoman in the country,” Gabrielle Reece||18-year-old snowboarding phenom you’ve never heard of||Li’l Penny|
|Show me the money||3.15 million readers||Anytime you’re starting a new magazine, it helps to have a worldwide cable empire to promote it.||Best closer in the league: Condé Nast’s ad department.||Anti-consumerist editorial stance lends maximum credibility to advertisers.||Cool-hunting advertisers eager to target voracious sports-shoe consumer demographic|
|Knockout punch||Easy-to-read old-school graphic design||Editorial staff includes mix of seasoned vets and future All-Stars.||Workout tips from supermodel athletes, rather than just supermodels||Skaters and snowboarders discuss their adventures without slick magazine-writer intervention||Nothing but net|
|Bum knee||Frequent unnecessary psychoanalysis: “He may be a bit anal, but he can putt.”||Unrestrained insider tone means you have to watch at least 15 hours of sports a week to know what they’re talking about.||Editor writes like a summer intern at a second-rate PR agency.||See above||Should come with glossary insert for those over 30|
|Intangibles||If mysteriously well-regarded columnist Rick Reilly ever decides to jump to ESPN, it’ll be SI‘s gain.||Has the rarest commodity in the genre; funny sports-writing that’s actually funny||Low-fat cheesecake like “The Breast News Ever!” likely to attract crossover audience||Lots of music coverage, in case you’re not really into sports, even extreme ones||Surprisingly entertaining vertical-leap-
|State of the chart||Used mostly as uninspired page-filling devices||Detailed statistical breakdown of the Alamodome||Detailed statistical breakdown of Wheat Thins Nutrition Facts label||Stats and charts are for fat-asses.||Rankings of up-and-coming sneaker brands|