‘Sports Illustrated’ goes high-tech in search of younger readers

Friday, 9 September 2011 04:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

For its latest college football tour, Sports Illustrated is going high-tech.

The Time Inc. weekly is taking its Sports Illustrated Heisman Tour to 10 high-profile college football games, where it hopes to get the attention of thousands of fans (and potential readers) with new technologies like gesture recognition software and RFID.

A tour like this could be an important source of new readers for Sports Illustrated, which could use some fresh blood. SI's median reader age is 39.3, versus 32.6 for its direct rival ESPN The Magazine, according to GfK MRI's spring audience report.

At each stop, football buffs will be able to get an RFID (radio frequency identification) bracelet that they can use to send updates and photos to their social networks; test their skills in a game powered by gesture recognition technology; and use HD touch-screen kiosks to browse team-specific video, photos, and past SI covers.

Nissan is sponsoring the program, which includes elements in print and online. For example, using SI’s social platform, Just Askin’, fans will be able to submit and vote on questions they want to be asked in SI’s pregame interviews with players and coaches. Bar codes will be embedded in the Inside College Football column in SI’s weekly issues, which will link readers to Just Askin’ video content.