Sports Illustrated is Screwing Red Sox Fans

Red Sox SI TV Offer

Aside from the business-related ones, I subscribe to only two magazines: Men’s Health and Sports Illustrated. Despite the rise of blogging and up-to-the-second sports updates, SI has been able to adjust their philosophy and remain a must read every week for any sports fan. The photography by the best photographers in the world is jaw-dropping, and the writing by the best writers in the industry reads more like a bunch of sports novels and less like a news magazine.

However, I’m pretty disappointed in how they market their “free gifts” on TV. Anyone who has turned on ESPN the last few weeks has seen this presumably sweet offer for Red Sox fans: subscribe to SI and get a free hard-cover commemorative World Series book, Official 2007 World Series DVD, and Championship Baseball Set. Any Sox fan would be crazy NOT to consider getting a subscription. It’s worth it alone for the free gifts…or is it?

Mike is a HUGE Red Sox fan, so he signed on to buy the pack. I said “cool, what’s it like $50?” I knew my subscription was somewhere in that vicinity. He tells me it’s $89.04 for 56 issues.

Red Sox SI TV Offer Cost

I thought to myself “damn, has the price of SI gone up without me realizing it.” Nope. A regular subscription costs $39.00 for 56 issues.

SI Magazine Regular Cost

How nice of SI to charge you $50.07 for your “free” book, DVD, and baseballs! Seriously, I expect more from one of the great American sports magazines. They do theses “offers” every time a team wins a championship, and presumably they make a KILLING and also get subscribers to their magazine that’ll probably continue on with them for years. What they should do is include a smaller bonus item for FREE (that means it’s included with the $39 subscription) and then offer the other items only to subscribers for an extra $20/$30/$40. At least then they aren’t tricking people into subscribing. What ever happened to giving up something to get something? That’s how good promotions work…isn’t it? They give you a free gift, and in return they get a subscriber that will pay subscription fees (presumably for more than a year) and add another number to their subscription totals so they can jack up advertising, which is where they make their money anyway.

I’m very, very disappointed in you Sports Illustrated.

11 comments on Sports Illustrated is Screwing Red Sox Fans

  1. Anthony says:

    Well, no doubt it’s a little tricky. And let me preface this by saying that I don’t know how they market it on TV. But if you look at the website – yes, they mention “free” in fine print, but they don’t stress it; they stress that it is a “package”. And on top of that, they don’t claim that it’s the same price as a regular subscription; they claim that it’s 64% off the COVER price, which I assume is true.

    Anyway, I’m not defending SI. It’s clearly deceptive to a certain extent, and I’m assuming the TV commercial is worse. HOWEVER, fact is, it’s completely legal, and at the end of the day, 95% of the people who sign up will never know, 4% will figure it out but still feel like they got a pretty good deal, and 1% will be offended. I believe in proper business practices, and so do you, but at the end of the day, I hate to say that I think we can learn a thing or two from SI. After all, it’s not a hell of a lot different than charging $6k for a $5k web development charge and throwing in SEO basics & a plan for “free”.

  2. Adam McFarland says:

    Agreed – nothing is illegal about it. I’m just a bit disappointed in how they market it. For YEARS they’ve been promoting these packages and I was always under the assumption that the stuff they put in the package was free. I kind of just always thought “that’s so cool how SI does those special offers…when my team wins a championship I’ll definitely buy one” and now I kind of feel like there’s no pt. You can buy each item on Amazon anyway for the same price (I just did a quick search). It’s more a matter of losing faith in a traditional company I always respected…and less a function of doing anything ‘wrong’.

  3. maryp says:

    Thanks for this post.. I was googling to find the page for the offer.. saw your post and read it. Sure enough.. it’s a rip off. So you stopped me from making a big mistake. I’ll go shopping for the items individually instead.

  4. Adam McFarland says:


    Glad to hear it helped. That’s why I’m here 🙂


  5. EdMan says:

    Thanks for the posting. I too was googling to find the offer and saw your post first. I agree that it is very deceptive and disappointing. Thanks for the posting. You saved me some bucks!! Well done!!

  6. Karen says:

    Thanks for the info! I was going on-line to get that “free” offer as a Christmas gift for my boyfriend. Now I think that I may not opt for that!

  7. foggy55 says:

    I wonder if the automatic renewal is made at the $89.04 rate, without any additional “free” gifts in follow on years, or if they drop it to the standard offer rate of $39.00. I’d bet it’s at $89.04 with no new “free” gifts which makes it an even worse ripoff.

  8. Adam McFarland says:

    Now that’s a good question. I would hope they renew you at the lower rate, but it doesn’t specifically say from what I can tell…so who knows.

  9. Ray7888 says:

    I’m glad I read this before I made the mistake in ordering. I rather order them separate anyway. And I really thought I was getting a deal. Shame on you SI.

  10. wilymo34 says:

    Like MaryP, I was looking for the SI web site to buy a subscription as I saw the add on TV while at the gym this morning. I thought it sounded like a great deal as I’m a life long Red Sox fan. I really appreciate you folks that pointed out what should have been obvious, that being we are paying for the “free” gear. You really can’t fault SI, as with everything, they have to make a buck. It is my fault if I don’t do my home work. You folks who put this web site together pointed out what I should have figured out. Thank you. (I’m off to the Amazon web site!)

  11. Sue says:

    I saw an ad on MLB Network tonight for the KC Royals championship”package” and thought, wow, not a bad deal (even though the price is higher here in Canada, but then again, what isn’t :/). Like many other posters here, I googled and this page came up in the top three searches. I went to the SI page and decided not to place and order. Then I checked out this page. SHAME ON YOU SI. I love my Red Sox, but I’m not a sucker and I’m glad I didn’t see anything like this after the 2013 season or I would have been very tempted!

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