This week’s cover of Sports Illustrated comes with a twist. It features actors Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale from the new boxing movie “The Fighter.”It is one of the few instances in the history of the magazine where there is no athlete or coach on the cover. (Wahlberg’s appearances in MTV’s Rock ‘n’ Jock basketball games don’t count)
The photo is associated with a story written by Pablo S. Torre, in which he calls “The Fighter” the best sports movie of the decade. (Better than “The Sandlot 3: Heading Home”?).
But what is interesting is that SI chose to offer a full-page, front page advertisement for a movie during a week that included intriguing sports stories such as free agency (big money for Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee), the end Brett Favre’s streak and the possible end of his career, the unbeatable New England Patriots, the return of the Knicks and relevance at The Garden, and the Miami Heat finally clicking.
Any of those stories are infinitely more worthy of Sports Illustrated’s cover than Marky Mark and his Funky Bale.
It is also interesting to note that SI is essentially promoting a movie distributed by Paramount Pictures, which is owned by Viacom, a company that has had disputes in the past over cable programming with SI’s parent company, Time Warner.
But maybe this is the future of Sports Illustrated, whose newsstand sales were down 24.8% in 2009, In an era when news and reactions are instantaneous on the interwebs, maybe it is better if SI moves away from actual sporting events and towards the sports periphery.
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