Sports Illustrated Bows Ad-Supported Desktop App

Sports Illustrated next week will launch mySI, a downloadable application that includes a sports news ticker, stats, standings and other features that fans can use to track their favorite teams.

The new service kicks off in tandem with the magazine's NFL Preview issue, and will focus on pro football news and information. SI plans to add other sports for the application next year, including baseball, basketball, and various college sports.

Comcast, Miller Lite, Nissan, and Radio Shack have signed on as sponsors of mySI for the duration of the NFL season. A different set of sponsors will be lined up for baseball and other sports next year.

"We look at the SI brand as a franchise and we've made the shift from a magazine centered-brand to a multi-platform brand primarily led by digital," said SI President Mark Ford.

Indeed, SI has aggressively pursued new technology ventures. Earlier this year, the magazine made a splash when it created a special Web site for its annual swimsuit issue and made videos featuring models available via iTunes and mobile phone.

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Consumers will be able to download the mySI application for free directly from the SI.com once registered on the site or through a Nissan-sponsored compact disc that will be inserted in the SI NFL Preview issue that comes out next week.

IN addition to tapping its own content, Ford said mySI will include football-related news and data from outside sources, whether official NFL teams sites or local newspapers--even from rival sports news franchise ESPN. "We're pushing people where we think the best information and content is on their team," said Ford.

Along with a bevy of stats and stories, mySI users will also be able to select screensavers emblazoned with the colors and logo of their favorite NFL team. The application itself was created by incorporating screensaver software from MercurySports that "pushes" new NFL-related content to consumers when their computers are not in use.

Ford added that talks are in progress with major cell carriers to be able to offer mySI as a mobile download as well by next year.

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