ESPN, The Magazine and the Network, To Share Offices Among Other Things in Connecticut

ESPN The Magazine will move operations from Manhattan to the network’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut by September 2011 as part of a larger effort to integrate the magazine more fully with the on-air brand, according to The New York Times.

Editorially speaking, this new strategy will mean more “topical packages” for the magazine. This year the magazine’s second-annual “Body Issue” (ESPN‘s muscly answer to Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit issue), for example, will be featured in a one-hour prime-time show on the cable network. Another magazine package is being planned around the topic of ice — hear them out on this — to coincide with the start of the hockey season.

While the move to consolidate offices in Bristol looks like a cost-cutting measure, the bi-weekly is actually quite strong. The latest numbers for the magazine show a 43 percent increase in ad pages in the second quarter of this year over last year. Sports Illustrated was down 2 percent in the same period.