By the Numbers

SI Swimsuit Issue - Does the Market Prefer Blondes?

Irina Shayk
Source: AP

The 2011 Sports Illustrated issue was revealed last night, featuring 25-year-old Russian model, Irina Shayk, on this year's magazine cover. 

It is the most profitable single-issue magazine franchise in the world, and a multi-million-dollar business.  CNBC.com took a look at how the market performs in years that the magazine cover featured a blonde versus a brunette. 

The models' hair color was gauged from the , dating back to 1964. 

>> QUIZ: Test Your Swimsuit Issue IQ

48 covers from 1964 until now:

  • 24 Blonde covers — average annual return of Dow 10.0%, S&P 10.9%
  • Note: The covergirl from 2008, Marissa Miller is a blonde and the Dow and S&P fell 33.8 and 38.5% respectively that year
  • 20 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)

Brooklyn Decker
Source: Sports Illustrated

Additionally, the models' nationality may also yield an interesting result. According to a Bespoke Investment Group report last year, since 1978 the S&P has returned an average 10.6% when an American is on the cover versus an 8.2% average return when a model from another country is selected.


The following pages contain the Sports Illustrated covers associated with the best market years.

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Top Swimsuit Issue Covers by Market Performance

Cheryl Tiegs
Source: Sports Illustrated

1975 - Cheryl Tiegs

Dow:  Up 38.3%

S&P 500:  Up 31.5%

Source: Sports Illustrated

1995 - Daniela Pestova

Dow:  Up 33.5%

S&P 500:  Up 34.1%

Paulina Porizkova
Source: Sports Illustrated

1985 - Paulina Porizkova

Dow:  Up 27.7%

S&P 500:  Up 26.3%

Kathy Ireland
Source: Sports Illustrated

1989 - Kathy Ireland

Dow:  Up 27.0%

S&P 500:  Up 27.3%

Source: Sports Illustrated

1996 - Tyra Banks and Valeria Mazza

Dow:  Up 26.0%

S&P 500:  Up 20.3%















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