Publication Dates: August 16, 1954 - Present
Publication Info: Founded by Henry Luce, who also founded such iconic American magazines as Fortune, Life and Time. Luce was correct in his estimation that the American adult male would show great interest in a sporting publichation that featured not only great photos and illustrations, but expert writing and analysis as well.
In its early years, Sports Illustrated focused on hunting, fishing, baseball and college athletics, but soon found that the market for reportage on professional spectator sports - baseball, football, basketball, golf, hockey and tennis especially - was exploding in America in the 1960s. While the daily papers covered local events in detail, Sports Illustrated writers and photographers fanned out across the country to provide coverage of the major events in the sporting world, including the World Series, major golf and tennis tournaments, the Triple Crown of horse racing, the Stanley Cup playoffs and other, more esoteric events such as the America's Cup, the Olympics, lacrosse and various track & field events.
As the popularity of sports in America and the evolution of advanced printing methods coincided, the publishers of Sports Illustrated were able to take advantage of both trends by improving its reportage and photo quality while increasing its circulation through newsstand and subscription sales. By the mid-1960s, Sports Illustrated had easily outdistanced its older, more established rivals, The Sporting News and Sport magazine in total circulation.
In 1989, Sports Illustrated launched another publication, Sports Illustrated for Kids which included sports cards of favorite athletes such as Joe Montana, Roger Clemens and later, Tiger Woods. To card collectors, many of the cards have become more highly prized than the original magazines, which themselves are becoming scarce. SI for Kids continues in publication and is considered a huge success in the pre-adult market. In 2000, Sports Illustrated again attempted to expand its brand with Sports Illustrated for Women but the magazine never gained traction, as circulation hovered between 300,000 and 400,000 and was eventually discontinued in December of 2002.
Sports Illustrated and related publications are owned by the Time-Warner corporation.
PRICING & COLLECTING INFO:
Volume 1, #1: Initial publication