TIME INC. READIES SPRING TEST ISSUE FOR 'SI WOMAN': NIKE HAS SIGNED ON AS A CHARTER ADVERTISER FOR TITLE THAT MAY GO MONTHLY BY '98

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Time Inc. has given the green light for a spring test of Sports Illustrated Woman, making it one of the first launches this year in the suddenly hot women's sports arena.

"What we're hoping to test and prove is that there is a market for sports about women," said Don Elliman, president of Sports Illustrated, who said he expects to spend under $1 million on the initial two test issues slated for mid-April and late August.

In addition to the working title, up to a half-dozen other names for the new magazine will be studied during the test, he said.

MAYBE MONTHLY BY 1998

Depending on advertiser and reader reaction, the magazine is scheduled to be published regularly in 1998 with up to a monthly frequency, Mr. Elliman said.

Nike has already signed on as a charter advertiser.

"We're really excited about the magazine," said Nancy Monsarrat, divisional ad manager for Nike, who said the footwear giant has purchased the inside gatefold cover on the debut issue.

The most direct competition for ads and readers in the 18-35 demographic target is expected to come from the established Women's Sports & Fitness, the upscale Sports Traveler and Conde Nast Sports for Women, now expected to publish twice in the second half of this year.

"Our magazine will be a participation magazine rather than a sports spectator magazine," said Deanna Brown, publisher of Conde Nast Sports for Women.

MEDIATION ON JAN. 21

The Conde Nast title is proceeding even though the company on Jan. 21 will meet with a federal mediator to help resolve a trade- dress infringement suit filed last July by Sports Traveler. That magazine, founded by entrepreneur Polly Perkins, has published four issues since its launch in the spring of 1995 and is searching for a new financial backer. Even so, Sports Traveler has attracted more than $1 million in ad revenue, including support from Saab Cars USA, Chanel, Tag Heuer and Ralph Lauren.

In addition, Weider Publications' Jump, a title for teen girls, will hit the market in August. It has evolved from a predominantly sports/fitness title into more of a lifestyle title in which sports play a major role for 14-to-19-year-old females.

"I think the new interest in women in sports is going to keep growing," said Steve Greenberger, VP-print media at Grey Advertising, New York.

'SI' TO BE LARGEST

With a guaranteed rate base of 600,000, SI Woman is expected to be the largest of the new titles.

"It won't be Sports Illustrated in a skirt. It will be issues and personalities for women who love sports," said Sandy Bailey, editor, and currently Olympics editor for the weekly SI.

The magazine will be printed on heavier paper stock than its weekly big sister. Because of the new title's less frequent appearance, plans call for it to be more feature-oriented in its coverage of women's issues and sports such as basketball, tennis, skiing, figure skating or golf than the weekly newsmagazine.

$25,000 PER PAGE

Ads will be priced at $25,000 for a color page, said launch publisher John Jay, currently associate Publisher on the weekly. The initial rate base will include 450,000 female subscribers to SI, another 50,000 sports-oriented women drawn from elsewhere in the Time Warner database and an additional 100,000 customers expected from newsstand sales at $2.95 a copy.

Mr. Jay said the advertising pool for SI Woman is "expected to be more than just footwear, apparel and sporting goods. We think there will be interest from financial services, Detroit and [auto] imports as well as fashion, cosmetics and

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