Sports Illustrated Target Audience and Demographics

Last Updated: 21 Mar 2023
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Sports Illustrated Magazine is one of the most successful and well-known sports magazine in the world. It is a weekly publication that features sports updates, famous faces, and anything and everything that has got something to do with the sports industry. (McCambridge, 1997) Its popularity can also be attributed to its annual Swimsuit Issue that has, since its inception in 1964, established itself separately from the weekly publication. Sports Illustrated is published by media conglomerate Time Warner, which also owns titles such as People, Time and Elle.

Is sports illustrated weekly or monthly?

"Sports Illustrated has been a weekly staple for more than 63 years, delivering the best sports journalism with near metronomic regularity. That will continue to be the case, but beginning next month the metronome clicks a little less often."  - Editor Chris Stone's

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Scouting Reports and High school football Player of the Month awards are just some of the sections that has made the magazine such a hit not just to sports enthusiasts but those who are expert in the field as well. The magazine has also helped launch other publications which cater to the industry. Spinoffs such as Sports Illustrated KIDS, Women, and Campus have launched the Sports Illustrated brand into a market and worldwide phenomenon. (McCambridge, 1997) It has expanded its reach to both Australia and Canada and has now conquered the internet with the creation of its website, SI.

com. Detailed target market The initial key demographic of Sports Illustrated was defined as Thirty Seven year old Men whose Annual Income is roughly at $60,913. (EchoMedia: Print Media Experts, 2009) This was clearly evident during its inception as the publication features were mostly focused on upper class activities such as yachting, polo and safaris. (McCambridge, 1997) However, the evolution of sports and its increasing popularity has also urged them to redirect their magazine towards a younger and active demographic.

Today, Sports Illustrated’s key demographic are ages 18 to 34 with average income ranging from average to above average income levels and have at minimum finished High School. (Deford, 2002) These readers usually belong to the active lifestyle, sports fans, and or NASCAR segments. (EchoMedia: Print Media Experts, 2009) With reference to the previous information on demographic, it can be inferred that the generational segment which SI caters to is the Generation Y up to present. These generational segments are sometimes referred to as the “Internet Generation” or the “Dot Com Generation” (Ronald D.

Michman, 2003) because of the heavy influence of the World Wide Web. Consumer Behavior or consumption patterns in this segment are very varied and people take on different roles at different times. (Ronald D. Michman, 2003) There are a lot of factors that contribute to these segments buying patter such as price, frequency of use, psychological behavior and the like. Because of the accessibility brought by the internet, geographic segments for the publication can cause little or no effect.

How many issues of sports illustrated per year?

Sports Illustrated, published by TheMaven, currently publishes 12 double issues. Each count as two of 39 issues in an annual subscription.

Nevertheless, urban areas with a high population, estimated between 1 million and 8 million are its target geographic areas. Using the Values and Lifestyles Segment grid, the psychographic segment which SI readers belong to are the Experiencers. (Burnett, 1991) Experiencers are individuals who are motivated by self-expression and are usually stimulate by new environments and experiences. They have an unending thirst for individuality and unconventionality. Although this segment is impulsive and reckless, they are also very determined to make the most out of their lives.

They are the first ones to try something new and the last ones to set a specific 10 year plan for their selves. They are young, energetic and trendsetters among their peers. And because of this they spend more of their income on fashion, socialization and entertainment. (Novak et. al. , 1992) The Advertisement As Peter Sealey, Coca-Cola’s senior VP-director of global marketing, once said referring to Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy “We will match the message to the medium to the audience. ” And this is what the advertisement intends to do.

By using popular sports figure from around the globe, readers can relate more to the product and create a sense of connection with it. In addition, playing up the Domino’s Tagline “Dip It, Rip It, Share It or Tear it... There is No Wrong Way to Eat. Domino's BreadBowl Pasta(TM)” arouses the interest in the reader that will then prompt them to focus their attention more on the ad rather than just browsing by it. In a research study, it is said that Americans respond more to the use of puns and satire. This play of words, elicits both anticipation and curiosity in the audience.

Each component of the catchphrase (Dip It, Rip It, Share It and Tear It) will correspond to the sport each particular athlete plays. To illustrate, “Dip it” is represented by Stephanie Rice champion swimmer. “Rip it” is represented by Karina Petroni 18 year old pro surfer, “Share it” is for the LA Lakers cheerleaders a. k. a “Laker Girls”, and “Tear it” for Danica Patrick, Indy Race Car driver. Sports Illustrated senior contributing writer Frank Deford points out that “there's only two known ways to reach young men.

One is through young women and the other is through sports,” (Deford, 2002) and the decision to use the former over the latter in the advertisement is because it becomes a break, a breath of fresh air for these readers. After reading through all the sports highlight and brawling sweaty men, would an ad that features the same thing get noticed? I don’t think so. That is why I think the use of popular female sports figures can entice the majority of the readers to take a second look and read through the ad.

Sports Illustrated Target Audience

I also believe that this advertisement can capture an Experiencer’s interest because of recklessness and devil-may-care attitude that it projects. The color and design will make the advertisement more attractive to the target audience as it illustrates a certain lifestyle that is both up to date, relatable and reflects their generation’s demands.


  1. Novak et. al. , (1992). The Values and Lifestyle Typology: VALS. United States of America.
  2. Burnett, L. (1991). USC Tobacco Industry Monitoring Project Collection: Demographic Characteristics of Vals Segments. Retrieved May 23, 2009, from TobaccoDocuments: http://tobaccodocuments. org/usc_tim/2060375188-5197. html
  3. Deford, F. (2002, May 29). Retrieved May 23, 2009, from SI Online: http://sportsillustrated. cnn. com/inside_game/frank_deford/news/2002/05/29/viewpoint/ EchoMedia: Print Media Experts. (2009).
  4. Sports Illustrated Magazine. Atlanta: EchoMedia. McCambridge, M. (1997).
  5. The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine. New York: Hyperion Press.
  6. Ronald D. Michman, E. M. (2003). Lifestyle marketing. California: Praeger Publishers.

Related Questions

on Sports Illustrated Target Audience and Demographics

Who is the main audience for Sports Illustrated?
The main audience for Sports Illustrated is sports fans of all ages. It is especially popular among adults, as it covers a wide range of sports topics and features interviews with athletes and coaches.
Where did Sports Illustrated start?
Sports Illustrated was first published in 1954 by Time Inc. It was created to cover the world of sports from a variety of angles, including news, analysis, interviews, and photography. It quickly became one of the most popular sports magazines in the United States.
When did Sports Illustrated magazine start?
Sports Illustrated magazine was first published in August 1954. It was founded by Henry Luce and is now owned by Meredith Corporation.
What is the demographic of Sports Illustrated?
Sports Illustrated primarily targets an audience of male sports fans between the ages of 18 and 49. It also has a large female readership, with an estimated 40% of its readers being female.

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Sports Illustrated Target Audience and Demographics. (2018, Jan 03). Retrieved from

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