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ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue: A Financial Success

Monday, 30 Nov 2009 | 12:46 PM ET
Serena Williams on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, The Body Issue.
Serena Williams on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, The Body Issue.

ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue, which featured athletes in various stages of dress, certainly attracted plenty of buzz.

But it’s the money earned from the issue that will bring it back for at least another year.

Gary Hoenig, general manager and editorial director of ESPNpublishing, told CNBC that the issue was the best issue, in terms of advertising, in the month of October since the Magazine launched in 1998.

The issue sold 35 percent more ads than the issue that ran in the same week last year, which featured Missouri quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Chase Patton.

Hoenig said The Body Issue sold “close to double" the amount that the magazine normally sells of each bi-weekly issue at the newsstand.

“It was our biggest seller on the newsstand since the college football issue in 2007 and it’s likely in the top 5 best selling in the last five years,” Hoenig said.

Hoenig said the issue sold well enough that he’s leaning towards putting next year’s Body Issue on the newsstand for a longer period of time.

The issue also led to the sale of 650 new ESPN.com Insider subscriptions at $39.99 a pop.

“I can’t say I’m surprised by how it turned out,” Hoenig said. “The more counterprogramming you can come up with in this environment, the better off you are.”

Of the six athletes that were featured on the cover, Hoenig said the issue with Serena Williams on the cover sold the best.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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