About SPORT Magazine
SPORT was a triumph from the day its first issue hit the street with a color image of Yankee sensation Joe DiMaggio and his son Joe, Jr. on the cover. That inaugural edition included eight full color pages – unheard of at the time – and almost immediately SPORT rose to over a million in circulation and became half bible, half guru to a generation of men coming of age in post-war North America.
SPORT magazine seized an unappreciated subject like sports and took it mainstream. The formula was simple: combine terrific editorial features written by the greatest writers of the time with generous presentations of photography, particularly Rockwell-like, full-page color imagery. It was born as a novel idea and grew into a cultural icon in the league of Life and Look and the Saturday Evening Post.
SPORT's groundbreaking use of color photography, particularly during its first 30 years, captivated a generation of sports fans, many of whom wallpapered their bedrooms with the magazine’s exquisite full-page photos. SPORT used only acclaimed photographers, combining work from its own staffers with that of such acclaimed 20th century freelancers as Ozzie Sweet, Lawrence Schiller, Hy Peskin and Neil Leifer.
If imitation is indeed the greatest form of flattery, then SPORT received the ultimate compliment with the birth of Sports Illustrated in 1954. Time Inc. tried unsuccessfully to purchase the name SPORT but was rebuffed and instead launched Sports Illustrated, copying many of the mainstays that had made SPORT a cultural icon.
By the 1970s, lacking Time's deep pockets, the SPORT franchise began to wobble and thus ensued a dizzying succession of ownership changes. Gradually SPORT lost its way, its distinctive voice and, eventually, its presence. In August 2000, after 54 years, 647 issues, 10,000 articles and 40 million words, SPORT magazine ceased publication.
Shortly thereafter, the magazine assets were acquired by Toronto entrepreneurs. The cornerstone of the acquisition was SPORT’s historic photographic archive of approximately 250,000 images, a collection cited by a renowned U.S. appraiser as "among the most significant resources for 20th century photographic images of American sports figures in the world."
Today, not only do many of those images live on at The SPORT Gallery in Toronto and Vancouver, but the classic photography is being integrated into a range of projects by sports league, TV companies and book publishers, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, ESPN, HBO Sports.