Why SI Needs a Swimsuit Issue
Sexy annual is like the 'Super Bowl for print'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2010 4:10 PM CST
An image provided by Sports Illustrated shows the cover of the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition featuring model Brooklyn Decker, on sale now.   (AP Photo/Sports Illustrated, Walter Iooss Jr.)

(Newser) Sports Illustrated recently unveiled the cover for its most important product of the year: The 2010 Swimsuit Issue. Roll your eyes if you must, but this annual bikini-fest is big business, writes Dylan Stableford at The Wrap. The swimsuit issue accounts for a whopping 7% of SI’s annual revenues. Many advertisers even create custom ads to debut in it, “making it something like the print equivalent of the Super Bowl.”

The magazine sells well over a million newsstand copies, which is 10-15 times how many regular issues of the magazine are sold that way. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; the magazine’s built a veritable multimedia machine around the issue, including YouTube channels, a Twitter feed and, of course, an iPhone app. The result? The swimsuit franchise revenues are up 15%, even as the main magazine’s overall revenue fell 12.8%.