How do you cover sports when their entire existence is being threatened by a global pandemic?
Heads Up! Sports Illustrated April 2020 cover is here, conveying the existential crisis of the sports industry during Coronavirus
- Cover Release: Sports Illustrated April 2020
- What’s In This Issue?
- The Future of Print
Content is the ‘buzzword’ the consumption of it has greatly varied in the last decade. The consumers shift from traditional mediums such as TV, Radio, and Print to their mobile phones pushed the bigwigs to adapt. While creating a whole army of ‘content creators,’ or ‘influencers’ as we know them.
But in the confusing times of coronavirus the ‘type of content consumption’ is unpredictable for everyone in the publishing business. While everyone on the planet is working from home the industries are shape-shifting with every passing second.
Cover Release: Sports Illustrated April 2020
Sports Illustrated Magazine put out its first Work-From-Home print cover. The cover was released on social media website Instagram with the caption, “How do you cover sports when their entire existence is being threatened by a global pandemic?”
And my god that rings so scary yet true – with the indefinite suspension of NBA 2019-2020 and the cancellations by sporting leagues like the NHL, MLS and MLB. The existence of sports is really threatened by coronavirus pandemic.
The first blow to the edition came with NBA star Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive with Covid-19. Gobert was on the cover, Stephen Cannella, co-editor in chief of Sports Illustrated tells AdWeek about the unexpected news ‘we had to change gears at the last minute.’
What’s In This Issue?
Let’s first admire the cover aesthetics of the cover. The Pantone blue-hued cover shows an empty stadium chair. No cover Lines. It’s kept clean and minimal in design. The empty chairs do give out the ‘post-apocalyptical existential crisis’ vibe!
A usual extravagant cover splattered with sports stars took its own unpredictable editorial turn. Next came, the content decisions.
While the sports world changes quickly the unpredictability of the ecosystem also editorially shook the decisions. How do you anticipate a story (or value of a product) that will resonate with the reader two weeks down the line?
The team settled on a mix – a power full cover that speaks for itself, coupled with newsy business-related stories around the virus while maintaining an emotional value with the stories like, how the virus brought audiences and athletes closer.
The Future of Print
The task ahead of for all media organizations, is determining the level of consumers appetite and keeping a balance of coronavirus-related stories vs stories not related to the virus.
Working From Home has gotten all of us to rely on the internet so is for the traditional print industry. The virtual tools like emails, Slack, Google docs are being relied upon to make work seamless among employees.
And for the ‘content’ part SI’s co-editor in chief, Ryan Hunt says, ‘lot of it is gut, a lot of it’s let’s throw out as many ideas as possible and see how we can find ways to tell stories about how people are continuing to do their jobs.
And for the print industry, it adapts!