Sports Illustrated Eschews Sneaker Phone for MaddenS

Sports Illustrated marketers are throwing out the sneaker phone and throwing in the kitchen sink, going after the dorm-rat gamer for growth and offering free Madden with a paid sign-up.

The proposition is, admittedly, shrewd - if you're willing to pay $60 for Madden, you can pay $50 for Sports Illustrated and get both. Of course, you can read everything SI offers, for free, online, but if that's your stance, you're still paying 10 bones extra for the game and no hard copy. The only hang up is you will still be waiting for the game after the national release date of Aug. 14, as SI promises no games will be shipped before then.

You also get some DVD documentary about Madden himself, but my guess is it's something ESPN has broadcast to a largely unemployed viewership on a Wednesday at 2 pm.

Sports Illustrated's dabbled with games before, branding three titles for the Game Boy from 1994 to 2001, according to Mobygames. Its web site also features game reviews and gratuitous titillation, so it's not like the National Review is hawking Donkey Kong all of a sudden. But it does show gamers' increasing pull with traditional brands.

Special Offer from SI [site]