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.