Hey sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am a self admitted “rink rat” so a lot of this blog will be about figure skating and hockey, however as an ex-figure skater, ex-varsity athlete and a sports fan in general, I usually have thoughts and opinions about alot of different sports I follow, so visit often!
When you win a Gold Medal at an Olympics or win a major championship in your sport, your life changes forever. If it’s a sport that happens to be popular in your country, you are suddenly thrust into the media spotlight. You can safely assume you will be put on the cover of a few sporting magazines.
Many great sports athletes can look forward to being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, or Time Magazine or the cover of many of their sport specific magazines. I did a quick google search on “How many times has Michael Jordan been on the cover of a magazine”, and the first result was that Jordan set a record of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated 50 times, over the course of his career! While this is just one sports magazine and does not count the number of specific monthly Basketball magazines or other non-sport magazines (GQ etc), let’s remember that Jordan’s career spanned over almost 20 years. By comparison, Lebron James has only been on the Sports Illustrated cover only 21 times so far (as of 2013) over his career.
I then took a look at a sport more dear to my heart, hockey. I did the same search for Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. I found results for various magazines with these 3 star players over many years but no official stats on “how many”. This leads me to believe that the numbers are significantly smaller than Michael Jordan and also, even if I did arrive at a number, I would hazard a guess that if the number of covers for any athlete was over 50, it would be over the course of a few years for each of these players.
My quick search was against the most prominent sports figures in a sporting history for Basketball and Hockey. These sports are professional sports where the marketing dollars are significant!! The athletes I chose are/were superstars in their sport and I was expecting to see large numbers in the results. Again, my search was just a quick google search. It would take days to compile an exact number, and even then, I doubt I could compile perfect numbers. The point of my search is illustrated below.
Let’s switch over to my favourite subject, Yuzuru Hanyu!! When talking about magazine covers, it’s a whole different ballgame with Yuzu, and seemingly, in Japan. Here is a collective shot of the over 50 magazines where Yuzu has been on the cover in the last 10 months!!! Let me emphasize the important number here – only in the last 10 months!! I do not know if this is the most covers for any sporting athlete ever, but I would challenge anyone to try and find an athlete anywhere in the world that had numbers larger than this. I think the only fair comparison would be to find another famous Japanese athlete and see if the numbers could compare. I still think these Yuzu numbers speak for themselves though. The volume of magazines is incredible. He is one of the most marketable athletes to come along in a long time. Putting Yuzu’s face on the cover means instant sales.
*Thank you to win3y for allowing me to use her picture. Source: https://instagram.com/p/7x5ASbjQTg/
In fact, one of the Yuzu’s latest covers is a magazine that contains Yuzu’s quotes and photos of him, and it has risen to the #1 best seller on Amazon (Japan), yet it hasn’t even been released (until Sept 25th).
Let’s not forget, the collage above of over 50 covers does not include any magazine covers prior to Jan 2015 (Yuzu covers) and one can only imagine the number of magazines that are yet to be printed in the next few years with Yuzu as the cover.
Even though you can find scanned images of these magazine covers all over the internet, there is nothing like the feeling of a glossy magazine in your hands. So much so that when I get one in my hands, I make sure that I am careful not to bend or crease any of the pages, and I make sure my hands are clean and dry before touching the magazines. Even though many magazines are moving to an on-line format versus printed copy, it looks like the paper magazine industry is still alive and well.
The collage of magazine covers above does not include the cover of the latest Phiten magazine (shown below), as it is a product promotional catalogue versus a sporting magazine. However it deserves honourable mention as it has a fantastic cover and I don’t think Phiten could find a more worthy spokesperson.
So, the questions are; how many more magazines will we see Yuzu on the cover before the 2018 Olympics? If the publishers keep up with this pace, we are on track to see another 100-150 magazines with Yuzu covers by 2018. I’m laughing at the thought of that number and dare I imagine what happens if Yuzu defends his Gold medal?
My next thought is; is there any other athlete that can compare to this type of printed media onslaught?
Regardless of the answers, I will sit back and enjoy the next few seasons and all the Yuzu covers that come my way!!
Go Yuzu Go!! Doki doki!!