Over on The Wrap, SportsNewser friend Dylan Stableford argues persuasively that this is the biggest year ever for Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit issue.
And the 2011 swimsuit issue is already delivering. It boasts more than 90 ad pages, a 30 percent increase over last year. And the issue is up 41 percent in advertising revenue, SI says. That’s a big deal, considering the swimsuit issue itself accounts for about 7 percent of Sports Illustrated’s annual ad revenue (or roughly $40 million of its $572 million in 2010).
And he’s probably correct. The press behind this issue is unprecedented, and blogs and websites all across the Web are posting images in hopes of landing some tangential traffic.
But does anyone actually care about the issue?
Sure, those 280 million page views and 100 million-plus video plays have to come from somewhere. And yet, it’s really just something else that’s pretty to consume and then discard. Perhaps the scale is bigger than most things we look at on a daily basis, but hasn’t the cultural impact of the Swimsuit issue been dramatically diminished even as the PR machine ramps up?
In the end, ESPN The Magazine‘s Jeff Bradley put it best: “I worked at SI when the swimsuit issue was, ya know, provocative.”