By the Numbers

SI Swimsuit Issue - Do Blondes Have More Fun?

Sports Illustrated

On a whim and based on Darren Rovell's interview today with Sports Illustrated Covergirl Bar Rafaeli, I did a quick scan on how the Dow and S&P performed in years that the SI Swimsuit Issue cover featured a blonde versus a brunette. I gauged hair color based on thumbnails on the SI Web site.  Note: color of wet hair is hard to determine but here are the results...

46 covers from 1964 until now:

  • 23 Blonde covers (including this year's) — average annual return of Dow 9.6%, S&P 10.2%

Source: Sports Illustrated

  • Note: Last year's covergirl, Marissa Miller (see photo on right), is a blonde and the Dow and S&P fell 33.8 and 38.5% respectively in 2008
  • 19 Brunette covers — average annual return of Dow 2.2%, S&P 2.3%
  • 3 covers with multiple models of varied hair color
  • 1 cover with a redhead (or so it appears)
  • When I shared these findings with Darren, he pointed out that the models' nationality also has an interesting result. According to Bespoke Investment Group, since 1978 the S&P has returned an average 13.9% when an American is on the cover versus a 7.2% average return when a model from another country is on the cover.  This indicator would be counter to the blonde indicator this year, as Ms. Rafaeli is an Israeli citizen.

    Between the Steelers winand Bar Rafaeli, are we in for a good year after all?

    See the SI covers associated from the best market years on the following pages.

    Top Swimsuit Issue Covers by Market Performance

    Source: Sports Illustrated

    1975 Cover - Cheryl Tiegs

    Dow:  Up 38.3%

    S&P 500:  Up 31.5%

    Source: Sports Illustrated

    1995 - Daniela

    Dow:  Up 33.5%

    S&P 500:  Up 34.1%

    Source: Sports Illustrated

    1985 - Paulina Porizkova

    Dow:  Up 27.7%

    S&P 500:  Up 26.3%

    Source: Sports Illustrated

    1989 - Kathy Ireland

    Dow:  Up 27.0%

    S&P 500:  Up 27.3%

    Source: Sports Illustrated