When you pick up the 2013 SI swimsuit issue this Valentine’s Day, remember it’s tradition of excellence; and t & a. It’s “Barely Legal” with spring training coverage. Oh wait, it’s all swimsuits now.
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue was an institution in the early 1990s, well it really took off in the 1980s with Christie Brinkley and Paulina Porizkova each gracing the cover three times. But when I hit puberty in the early 1990s, and the internet’s vast resources of masturbation fodder were not available yet, us 14 year old boys circled two dates on the calendar- the issue hitting newstands and the 1 hour “making off” special on television.
Back in the day we had big names like the famous triumverate cover of Kathy Ireland, Elle Macpherson, and Rachel Hunter. Then there was Judit Masco, Ashley Montana, Tyra Banks, Stacy Williams and Daniela Pestova. Today, there is a new generation of rookies coming up like Michelle Vawer, Nina Agdal, Jessica Perez and Crystal Renn.
The SI swimsuit issue generates advertising that, in 2005 amounted to US$35 million in value. Today it accounts for 7% of Sports Illustrated’s annual revenue. Generating 7% from just one issue is pretty stellar when you consider the competition they face in lad mags like Maxim and ESPN’s Body Issue; which like the SI swimsuit issue is just oh so close to having to appear in plastic and behind the counter when it’s displayed on magazine racks.
We all know that nothing moves the needle like sex and controversy. And this year’s cover model, Kate Upton seems to have inspired a backlash. The first back-to-back cover model since Tyra Banks since 1997. Now there are people who are in my camp, who believe Kate Upton is just perfect the way she is and the hottest woman alive. Wait till you see the body paint pics of her. Even more stunning than USWNT soccer star Alex Morgan last year.
And then there are the visually challenged/just plain wrong who say stuff like this:
She’s not “fat” as in, I’d see her on the beach and immediately pick her out of the crowd as being morbidly obese. She is, however, HORRIBLY proportioned and frankly, too fat/out of shape to be modeling swimsuits. She’s about as curvy as my refrigerator. Her face is genuinely pretty, but 8/10 girls I went to school with had better bodies. The fact that she’s so popular says a whole lot about her audience. With the majority of people overweight/obese these days, they’re looking for an outlet with which to justify their fat lazy asses. Unfortunately, her star status doesn’t make the population any less fat or unattractive. Sorry guys.
More sex and controversy in the 2013 SI swimsuit issue as Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Crimson Tide QB A.J. McCarron and former Miss Alabama makes an appearance. Her photos have leaked. The swimsuit model who was ogled (some would say in a normal way, some would say in a creepy way) by Brent Musburger broke the internet for a week after the college football national title game. A game Notre Dame technically showed up to play in. Katherine Webb is a huge star now.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.