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ESPN The Magazine entered the crowded field of sports titles in March 1998 with a brash attitude, aiming for a younger crop of male readers whose interests emcompassed sports and more.

"We look at a guy's whole lifestyle through the context of sports," says Michael Rooney, 45, VP and publisher of ESPN the Magazine

He helped position the title around lifestyle and sought out the category advertisers.

The magazine burst onto the scene with a big integrated marketing campaign.

Direct response TV spots appeared on its cable show. The Web site racked up 50,000 subscriptions and ESPN radio helped spread the word, along with college campus subscription pushes and direct mail efforts.

Within a year ESPN the Magazine boasted a rate base of 700,000 and expects to hit 1 million by January 2000. It also got rivals stirred up: redesigns were ordered at The Sporting News and Sport, which absorbed Inside Sports during the year. No. 1 title Sports Illustrated dropped its cover price in reaction-SI went from $3.50 to $2.95; ESPN is $3.99.

He says the key to ESPN the Magazine's success in a crowded field was giving the magazine its own personality, separate from the cable TV network. "We meet with the broadcast people once a week so we know how to take advantage of all our resources and make sure the sum of our efforts is greater than the parts" Mr.

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