Blog Post

SI.com’s MySI Looks At The Big Picture; Swimsuits Optional

MySI, a new ad-supported desktop app launched today by Time Warner’s SI.com, makes eye-catching use of one of Sports Illustrated’s greatest assets: its photography. Match that with scores, news headlines that link to the site and custom team pages and you have a toolbar that’ should appeal to a fair number of the 10 million or so “team enthusiasts” in its aim. It’s a fairly bold approach for SI.com, matching moves of late that include finding an online partner away from Time Warner and AOL. It’s not completely ready — for instance, NFL football is the only sport that can be customized by team for now, with others being added in early 2007.
— SI.com gets to brand a chunk of desktop and sell sponsorships at the same time. The launch sponsors are Circuit City, Radio Shack, Nissan, Comcast and Miller Lite; their logos show up at various points including all five on the install screen. The sponsorships are part of major print and online packages, according to an industry source, so difficult to unpeel how much a sponsor paid just for mySI. Melissa Romig, associate media director at Carat Fusion, which reps Radio Shack, explained the appeal to MediaWeek: “The desktop is something we haven’t been able to explore very deeply.”
— The full-screen photos are served up via Flash, rotating at a time set by the user; it’s built on the MercurySports’ ScreenServer network. The default includes famed SI swimsuit photos, which makes sense for a toolbar that also defaults to male for the gender pick during install; users can opt out of any category. I was concerned about scale but the sports action photos are among the best uses I’ve seen yet of my 21-inch LCD monitor and another example of the content possible when broadband and Flash meet. (It’s the first time I’ve thought twice about a screensaver since flying toasters.)
MediaPost was told talks are underway for a mobile version in 2007. This is one case where the size (photos, that is) will matter.
Related: Sports Illustrated To Go Around AOL; Talks With Yahoo For Sports Portal
Who Needs Pirates When You Have Bikinis?