ESPN The Magazine Sells Its Soul To Powerade 5

The New York Times recently caused quite a commotion when they sold space on the front page for advertising. Now ESPN The Magazine is following suite, selling half of their cover to Powerade.

The new issue of the magazine features  a fold-over flap cover that covers half of Manny Ramirez’s smiling face (must be that new contract). The front of the flap has one sentence that reads, “You wouldn’t settle for an incomplete cover” and the backside of the flap has a picture of a Gatorade bottle with the sentence, “Then don’t settle for an incomplete sports drink,” above a picture of a Gatorade bottle.”

This is a pretty large step for a magazine to sell their cover space and is clearly a sign of the times for ESPN.  But is is the right move?  It seems like this could be the equivalent of selling your soul to the devil, as ESPN The Magazine is making it pretty clear that they’re willing to make a Powerade ad the first thing their customers see when the pick up the magazine. While this may be necessary financially, it certainly seems like a major compromise of principals for the magazine.

UPDATE (3/27)

This story on AdvertisingAge has some background on Powerade’s new anti-Gatorade campaign.

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