End of an Era for ‘ESPN The Magazine’
ESPN The Magazine is cancelling its print version—the last issue hits newsstands in September—and moving to an all-digital format. Born in 1998 during the heyday of ESPN’s cultural rise and conceived as a sort of hybrid between Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated, the biweekly periodical soon achieved a reputation for award-winning long-form journalism and inventive, gutsy editorial design and illustration. Moving beyond the photography-only look of its competitors, ESPN The Magazine boldly mixed stellar editorial illustration, photo illustration, in-your-face typography, and strong graphics to create a unique editorial design that spanned political and cultural analysis, photojournalism, and celebrity fandom. Above all, it sought to humanize and contextualize the people and the business of sports. Here’s a retrospective look at some of the best covers and interior spreads over 21 years.