Sports Illustrated

August 16th Celebrates Sports Illustrated

On August 16th the first issue of the magazine called Sports Illustrated was published today in the year 1954. It was claimed that 250,000 subscriptions had been sold before the first issue came off of the presses.

Sports Illustrated is an American sports media franchise owned by Time Inc.

There were two magazines named Sports Illustrated before the current magazine began in 1954. In 1936, Stuart Scheftel created Sports Illustrated with a target market for the sportsman.

He published the magazine from 1936-1938 on a monthly basis. The magazine was a life magazine size and focused on golf, tennis, and skiing with articles on the major sports.

He then sold the name to Dell Publications, which released Sports Illustrated in 1949 and this version lasted 6 issues before closing. Dell’s version focused on major sports (Baseball, Basketball, and Boxing) and competed on magazine racks against Sport and other monthly sports magazines.

It was then that Time patriarch Henry Luce began considering whether his company should attempt to fill that gap. At the time, many believed sports was beneath the attention of serious journalism and did not think sports news could fill a weekly magazine, especially during the winter.

A number of advisers to Luce, including Life magazine’s Ernest Havemann, tried to kill the idea, but Luce, who was not a sports fan, decided the time was right.

The goal of the new magazine was to be “not a sports magazine, but the sports magazine”. Many at Time-Life scoffed at Luce’s idea; in his Pulitzer Prize winning biography, Luce and His Empire, W. A. Swanberg wrote that the company’s intellectuals dubbed the proposed magazine “Muscle”, “Jockstrap”, and “Sweat Socks,” launched on August 16, 1954.

However sports illustrated had made history in 1996, when Tyra Banks posed alongside Valeria Mazza making her the first black model on a Sports Illustrated cover. A year later, Tyra Banks became the first black model to receive a solo cover.

Today’s YouTube video clip below entitled, “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum mark 50th anniversary of magazine,” shared by user name Jewish News One;

Sports Illustrated magazine created a swimsuit edition just to creatively fill space at a time of year with little sports news into a major marketing franchise that includes a special separate issue, a website, television specials, calendars, books and enormous amounts of advertising.

It began as a short photo spread of women in bathing suits and has become a fashion issue for beachwear worn by the world’s top models, that became famous models after being photographed by Sports Illustrated such famous models as Christy Brinkley, and Cheryl Tiegs.

We may not look as fantastic in bathing suit as some of these models did on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but as we dive into today’s story today, remember how on August 16th 1954, Sports Illustrated made a splash today in history!

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio


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