Friday, June 12, 2009

Au Naturel Athletes

Lines are beginning to form at newsstands in anticipation of the October 19 issue of ESPN The Magazine, which will feature pro, amateur and Olympic athletes posing in the nude.

The "Body Issue" is ESPN The Magazine's shot across the bow of Sports Illustrated, which for the past 45 years, has featured its moneymaker Swimsuit Issue every February, which, combined with videos, calendars and the like, reaches an estimated 67 million consumers. According to Audit Bureau of Circulations numbers, SI has a total per issue print circulation of 3.2 million, compared to 2.1 million for ESPN. Gary Belsky, editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine, promises the exposed jocks will have certain body parts artfully covered with sports equipment.

ESPN has yet to identify which athletes will appear in the issue. Not sure how eager I am to see NY Yankees Pitcher C.C. Sabathia or Pittsburgh Steelers' 344-pound Guard Chris Kemoeatu posing starkers with a "come hither" look. ESPN The Magazine is owned by the Walt Disney Co., which means both that the nudity will be "tasteful," and that the athletes-in-the-buff may be exposing themselves to derisive remarks about how "It's a Small World Afer All," from puerile bloggers like myself.

1 comment:

  1. As a nudity buff (if that's not redundant) I applaud Espn's efforts to pump more flesh into their sports coverage (or uncoverage as "Hef" used to say.)
    I don't trust Wlat Disney's record in these matters. Donald Duck spent his entire career walking around without pants, yet Tinkerbelle didn't show anything. (No "European" version, either.) I await the "Body Issue" and hope it's a pleasant October surprise.