SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY, my first stop on the web every morning, has this handy chart of SI vs. ESPN THE MAG sales the past two years:
Wonder what those numbers would look like if you removed revenue from SI’s swimsuit issue - a copy that happens to be the highest-selling mag on the planet every year. I’m guessing the ad revenue for SPORTS content would be a lot closer to dead, flat even.
I know the swimsuit issue probably does more in actual sales than ad rev, but still you have to believe that those numbers skew the comparison to the ESPN offering.
Is there anything left in sports media that ESPN’s tentacles haven’t choked the life out of? We all know ESPN owns TV and the web, but now it appears its on the verge of officially taken over print too.
It’s akin to Nike being the world’s top seller of skateboard shoes, or Microsoft trying to take over the gaming biz. It just doesn’t look and sound right.
ESPN does a nice job with its content, but I’m on the other side on this one. We need to maintain varied sources in the media, and hopefully outlets like SI can fight off ESPN’s advances into its core business.