Sports Illustrated‘s The MMQB standalone NFL vertical has become quite popular since its 2013 launch, and they’re now promoting MMQB content in other mediums (which seems to fit with new SI group editorial director Chris Stone’s focus on integrating the company’s various properties ). They’ve run MMQB-branded football sections before, but have now done a full MMQB issue of SI, edited by Peter King.
That issue hits newsstands Wednesday. They’ve also rolled out three weekly MMQB podcasts. Here’s the cover of the new issue:
And part of King’s editor’s letter on what this issue means:
“A few months ago SI’s editorial director, Chris Stone, asked the staffers of The MMQB if we’d like to produce one issue—our way. We said yes. So here it is: pro football covered our way … For you to care about what we do—and 20 million unique users did in 2015—we have to take you places you cannot go, with stories and videos you can’t get anywhere else. You have to hear different voices, as you did when we gave Richard Sherman his first national loudspeaker in 2013. This issue is the perfect way to show a football-hungry nation exactly what we do.
…A long time ago I was told the most important thing about this job is to take people inside the game in fresh and surprising ways. I’d be pleased if, after you’ve finished this issue, you felt we accomplished that goal.”
Dedicating an entire issue to the NFL is an interesting play from SI, as typically even their sport preview issues have featured a variety of other content as well, but if there’s a league that makes sense to cover that way, the NFL is it given its massive popularity. This looks like a smart cross-branding promotion, too, as it might help show off some of what TheMMQB.com does to print readers who don’t yet check it out regularly, especially as that site will feature supplementary videos for some of these pieces.
Also, while this issue is entirely focused on the NFL, there’s still a wide range of content in it, from essays from Robert Kraft and Jaguars’ DE Jared Odrick to Robert Klemko’s cover story on Khalil Mack to The MMQB 100 list of influential figures that will shape this season. Here’s more on that from a release:
Highlights from the new issue include exclusive features on top players such as Mack, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as “Football’s Mastermind” and Bills running back LesSean McCoy as he prepares for the first game of the season; first-person essays from New England Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft and Jaguars defensive end Jared Odrick, who offers a fierce defense of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stance on social justice; The debut of the full The MMQB 100 List, ranking the 100 most influential figures who will shape the 2016 NFL season, on and off the field; Thirty-two hours in the life of the NFL, a totally inside tick-tock look at Week 1 of the 2016 season, starting on Saturday afternoon with Jets coach Todd Bowles at the 9/11 Memorial and finish when the Patriots’ buses leave Glendale, Ariz., after the All of this will appear along with videos and supplementary content across TheMMQB.com and SI’s digital properties throughout the week.
Those videos and supplementary content illustrate how TheMMQB’s determined to be a multimedia site, not just a print one, and the new MMQB podcasts SI announced last week are part of that too. Here’s part of that release:
Available now is The MMQB Podcast with Peter King, an access-driven experience that brings fans behind the scenes with King—Editor of TheMMQB.com and one of the most highly respected and widely followed voices in sports media—for exclusive in-depth conversations with the biggest influencers in professional football. Premiering next week will be two more weekly series dedicated to all things pro football, The MMQB Podcast with Albert Breer and The 10 Things MMQB Podcast. The SI Group and DGital Media, the innovative creator of high quality, on-demand audio entertainment, will also build on the recent podcast momentum across the SI network, with new premium original series on the horizon.
“Our business is all about storytelling, and there are few better ways to hear the stories of some the greatest influencers of our time than through a podcast,” King said. “To have the ability to sit down for real conversations with the biggest names in football—Bruce Arians, John Elway, Michael Bennett, to begin with—and not just three-minute sound bite-type interviews is very exciting. We’re proud to partner with DGital Media and believe it will be a great addition to what we have established with The MMQB.”
So, it’s clear that SI is really trying to promote The MMQB in a variety of mediums, and to integrate its writers and operations with SI’s traditional print product a bit more. It will be interesting to see how these new initiatives pan out for them.