As promised, I picked up a copy of the Sportsnet magazine at the airport today. Overall, I liked it. I wouldn’t subscribe to it, I would be a selective reader, pick it up, see if anything looked interesting and go from there. Here are my overall thoughts:
I think it’s priced right for a magazine. It cost me $2.99 which isn’t bad.
It’s slick looking. It’s professional, not too glossy and it doesn’t feel like a book.
It’s a little bit of a mix between ESPN Magazine and Maxim in taste.
It’s very Canadian. Much of the content feels forced, and Canadian content forced.
The Keith Pelley story was a little embarrassing. Talking about Mccown and referencing Jose Bautista? I know, it’s the first one so the big wig has to say something, but this was too much.
The article from the editor is better, but it’s a good example of the “hokiness” of the magazine. The picture they use is really amateur.
The photo essay is very SI, I like it. Adding in soccer and Rugby, very Canadian. Nice touch.
They have a feature called the pre-game where they look at the next two weeks in sports. It’s a neat concept, but it highlights one of the faults of print, stale information. They suggest five not to be missed events. I picked up the magazine today on October 4 and 2/5 were done on October 1. (really, argo’s football as a can’t be missed? no mention of MLB, US college football?)
Not surprisingly, there is a Bob Mccown feature where apparently Bob answers readers questions. Once again, lose the lame photo. More importantly, I really hope Bob didn’t write these answers. He is way more articulate than this, at least on air. The answers don’t sound like he wrote them, they are forced and not the least bit smart or creative.
The twitter clips are a neat feature, however, there isn’t any real basis for them, it’s hard to read 1 tweet on it’s own.
There’s a Brady and Lang segment- the tag line is These guys don’t agree on anything. The photo looks like it’s from mad magazine. Again, the banter between the two feels really uncomfortable: Lang says “Look, Greg. I know you’re never wrong, but the facts are facts”. It’s really weak. They ask fans to vote on who wins the weeks argument- neither- both lame.
Scott Feschuk offers up a look at the Canadian teams chances at winning the cup. Interesting read, take it or leave it. At least his photo is normal.
They do a cool little review of the last 2 weeks in sports called the show.
Shi Davidi has a decent story on Roy Halladay. It’s a good read, but I didn’t learn anything new from it, and I am far from a baseball know it all.
Because they went to print before the playoffs were set they can’t really preview the match ups, but do a decent job looking at a few teams.
Arden Zwelling has a really interesting article on rotator cuff tears. It’s a good magazine piece because it isn’t time sensitive and Arden talks to medical experts.
Without question the reason you want to buy or borrow this magazine however is the incredible story about the life and death of Derek Boogard. This is an exceptional piece. It’s a real page turner, it’s incredibly insightful and totally depressing. I plan on writing a full blog post on it later. Seriously, buy the magazine to read about the dark culture of the NHL, the life of the goon in hockey.
Michael Grange has a behind the scenes article on Tristan Thompson going back to university awaiting the NBA lockout. Again, it’s an easy read, not nearly on the same level as the Boogard piece, but good reading.
There’s a cool interactive on where some NBA players are during the lockout that’s kind of neat; it’s good filler.
I am not a UFC guy, so I found Steve Maich’s interview with Dana White interesting. Again, I wouldn’t rush out to read it, but it’s good filler.
There’s a good story on rookie QB’s in the NFL by Arden Zwelling. Again, good filler.
Then the magazine becomes mostly an NHL season preview. It’s a good look preview and fun to read. The one thing that’s funny about it is how they constantly use Sportsnet personalities for quotes. There’s an image of Scott Morrison under the new logo by the way that looks like he either is a New England Patriot or a Buffalo Bill. While it’s interesting reading commentary from Scott or from Jeff Marek, I would rather read comments from GM’s, coaches or scouts. That’s just me though.
Gare Joyce has a feature on Crosby. I sounds like a parrot when I say this, but it’s a good read, bu there is nothing new in it.
Then there is a feature called the life, which is kind of the maxim look at the life in sports.
There’s an excellent feature called road trip where they look at the city of Boston from a sports weekend perspective, where to stay and eat etc.
To finish it off Stephen Brunt has an interesting article on the culture of hockey in Canada.
So? There you have it. It’s a good first edition. It’s not great. It’s not lousy. It doesn’t leave me wanting for more. It did kill 2, 1 hour plane rides. It will be interesting to see how they fill the magazine when they don’t have an NHL season to preview. I’d like to see more Boogard type features and less of the lame Mccown/Brady/Lang stuff.