Should Will Leitch Replace Rick Reilly At Sports Illustrated?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not my idea, but one posed this morning by Dan Shanoff over at his site this morning. If you don't know by now Reilly is going to ESPN in yet another calculated hire for the Leaders. I didn't really post about it because it had already been everywhere, but the money has to be insane if he was already making a million at SI. Reilly showed up at ESPN back in June, so you could tell even then that this move was in progress. SI has Dan Patrick now, but is that enough?

I urge you to read Dan's post first, but to be completely honest.....this would be a step back for Will.

Let me explain. Leitch is a great writer. I still read the journal entries that he did over at Black Table and if you haven't read those I urge you to do that too. There's no doubting his relevancy within Sports and the demo he appeals to is what Sports Illustrated needs to recapture. There's no doubt in my mind that he could do the job, but it would probably be the wrong way to go.

People have described SI as a sinking ship recently, and like it or not SI the magazine just doesn't appeal to the college aged kiddies nowadays. I'm 29 and I think I'm right at the cusp of people that still get the Magazine and enjoy it, but with ESPN the Magazine out there and all of the online content doesn't look good. It would be a coup at first, but I wouldn't want to be the one tabbed to save the ship if it ever goes down.

So that's my opinion....what's yours? I think it's a step in the wrong direction for Leitch, but then again....what if they offered him half of what Reilly made in a year? That'd be about $500K. Hmmm....let me rethink that.....

SI: Hire Deadspin's Leitch to Replace Reilly (Dan Shanoff)
Yeah, Because That's What I'd Do If I Thought Someone Was Stealing My Material (Awful Announcing)


I tend to agree, although I take issue with you mentioning ESPN the Magazine as part of the competition.

That publication is a piece of crap. I am an Insider subscriber (I know I know) and you get the magazine for free. I had to call and ask them to stop delivering it because I felt bad about the waste. I observe sports 24/7 and I turned down a free sports publication.

We don't get a ton of flies in California so it's not even worth keeping around to swat at them.

Preston Seider said...
Oct 23, 2007, 12:51:00 PM  

I don't know why anyone would wish that on Will. There is no way he could write the way he wants to write if he was in that position. It would do SI's credibility a world of good, but I think he'd regret the move. (Except in his bank account, which is not inconsiderable).

Extra P. said...
Oct 23, 2007, 12:55:00 PM  

i need a shower after that. gay sex at its finest. someone wants to ride leitch's coattails. tbl is way better.

deadspins commentators suck this is every comment with leather, memo, and underground. yeah, gawker is so underground.

he is okay but he did not invent anything new.

no said...
Oct 23, 2007, 1:02:00 PM  

Sorry Preston....didn't mean to say they were the competition, but that's where Reilly is writing now. I think it needed to be mentioned.

I get the thing too, and it's very hard to read, but if they're hiring of Reilly is any indication...they'll be changing it up REAL soon.

Oct 23, 2007, 1:03:00 PM  

I'm 55, and stopped reading SI the Mag about 15-16 years ago. At the time, it was becoming more fluff than substance, so I bailed.

Bruce said...
Oct 23, 2007, 1:15:00 PM  

Funny, I didn't even think about the paper magazines.

Who does anymore. That ESPN magazine is unreadable by anyone with an IQ over 100, all this shit with lines running here and there, arrows, colors.

Write something, quit playing with Photoshop.

hollywood wags said...
Oct 23, 2007, 1:16:00 PM  

Leitch should only take it if involves a dumb-ass amount of money. Otherwise, stick with the Net media -- the evolution's heading that way anyway.

Signal to Noise said...
Oct 23, 2007, 1:49:00 PM  


Will should stick to his empire

Sports Nation said...
Oct 23, 2007, 2:02:00 PM  

I love how a recommendation for a job opening is portrayed as "gay sex."

Will's very good at what he does, and drives a huge audience. While I agree that it would be a step back for him, if SI was going to make a "bold" move, that would be one.

Anonymous said...
Oct 23, 2007, 2:15:00 PM  

A2 - they're definitely the competition (SI,ESPN the Mag).

ESPN the Mag is just sports for the Maxim set. Every girl interviewed in Maxim likes to make out with chicks and really wants a bald guy with a beer guy ... every athlete profiled in ESPN is angry about something and has overcome some nonsense. And then pics with their shirts off.

The latter, bring on more!

I've always wanted to meet someone who actually sent something in for that Stu Scott 2-way column.

Preston Seider said...
Oct 23, 2007, 2:52:00 PM  

The problem is Will's not a particularly good writer. He's a good blogger, but if you've read any of his non-sports work -- op-eds, Slate cross-talk, etc. -- I just don't think he has the talent to be SI's lead "voice".

tinali said...
Oct 23, 2007, 3:06:00 PM  

The Sporting News is the best magazine, but I don't read that with any kind of enthusiasm. With the Internet, magazines serve little purpose.

I agree, SI is all fluff. There's about an aggregate three pages worth of words in there while the Sporting News covers everything with about 5x as much coverage. I can't comprehend how anybody would read SI over The Sporting News.

Eric said...
Oct 23, 2007, 3:59:00 PM  

The Sporting News blows, unless you like NASCAR or College Football. They always ship to my house a week late so everything is super dated. Why would I want crappy columnists and unfunnny jokes when I can get swears and pictures of hot chicks in the blogosphere? There's a way to save sports print media, but I think it involves specialty magazines.

chone said...
Oct 23, 2007, 5:21:00 PM  

ESPN the Magazine is nothing but high gloss toilet paper (just remember to take the staples out first). It must be made by/for people with extreme ADD - there are very few (if any) actual stories. The layout looks like the butterfly ballot in Florida, with lines going every which way.

keyser soze said...
Oct 23, 2007, 6:46:00 PM  

SI has some fluff, but nowhere near the level of fluff and hype that ESPN - both magazines and all other parts of its empire, produces. I still subscribe to SI, and I still enjoy it - A couple gimmicks and running items, 80% solid articles and great writing.

Meanwhile, ESPN magazine is described better than I could by previous commenters - Maxim Sports, the ADD crowd, etc.

Sporting News is an entirely different animal. It's news and info. It's purpose is not entertainment. It's reference, pretty much.

And that's why the Patrick-for-Reilly trade makes a lot of sense. Both are moving to a market that better serves their niche. I'm neutral on Leitch. I neither admire nor dislike his writing, and I check in on Deadspin a couple times a week.

Its just too bad the ADD crowd is so big and profitable. The day where SI and ESPN The Mag simply try to out-ESPN each other is coming soon, and it's only my idealism that prevents me from saying it's not already happening.

Kevin Beane said...
Oct 23, 2007, 7:42:00 PM  

It's hard to say that it's a step back because so many people (almost 30 million) read SI each week while not even 10 % of that visit Deadspin weekley.

Anonymous said...
Oct 23, 2007, 7:58:00 PM  

I agree with AA - SI would be a step back. On a separate note, Will is a good blogger, but he is a much better writer. His stuff at Black Table (which is compiled in Life as a Loser) is wonderful - it is poignant and funny. No one in the blogosphere compares to him in terms of overall writing ability.

el_hombre said...
Oct 23, 2007, 11:46:00 PM  

If I had one vote, I'd think about voting for myself.

But other than me, Will would be a great second choice.

NFL Adam said...
Oct 24, 2007, 6:15:00 PM  

Better him than Will Smith.

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