*Miami – Basketball legend and new Miami Heat star LeBron James is the first cover subject of Hip Hop Weekly’s new monthly sports lifestyle publication Skyboxx, which features the “Peek-A-Boo” cover innovation that allows James to literally change from his former Cavaliers jersey to his new Miami Heat jersey on the cover of the debut issue.
Set for release to over 30,000 retail locations August 3, the Miami-based, nationally-distributed homage to sports superstars is the latest publication from Hip Hop Weekly, the #1 urban entertainment magazine in America, whose publisher David Mays and Chief Brand Executive Ray “Benzino” Scott founded the seminal hip hop magazine The Source in 1988.
Skyboxx’s debut issue features over 250 photographs of James along with an in-depth history from his early life, his beginnings in basketball, and his rise to superstardom. The special edition also includes a “Hot Picks” buying guide to over 100 new sneakers, sports apparel items and other sports products.
Like Hip Hop Weekly, the format of Skyboxx was inspired by the major celebrity weekly magazines, which have continued to thrive on newsstands.
“Skyboxx will cover sports, but no so much from the sports perspective, more from the lifestyle angle,” said Chief Brand Officer Raymond “Benzino” Scott. “Athletes have become some of the most recognized and beloved celebrities of our times. There are a lot of things going on in and around their lives that people are interested in, so we will cover that on a monthly basis.”
Skyboxx’s publishers believe that with the Miami Heat’s new lineup they are poised to become a legendary team with a national following much like that of the Dallas Cowboys and the NY Yankees. Being based in Miami will allow Skyboxx easy access to dedicate at least 20 pages per issue to covering the Heat. Skyboxx is edited by Chris Wilder, who Mays and Scott previously worked with when Wilder was Editor-In-Chief of The Source Sports in 1997, the first magazine to showcase the hip hop culture going on behind-the-scenes in sports. Wilder went on to become an editor at Major League Baseball Advanced Media and The Philadelphia Tribune. He also contributed to ESPN Magazine and ESPNU.Com. Skyboxx will also feature a column in every issue by syndicated radio hosts the 2 Live Stews.
Skyboxx is the second major publishing expansion in the last month by Hip Hop Weekly. In July they released the first-ever “Flawless Beauties 3-D Swimsuit Calendar” packaged with the magazine’s first annual Swimsuit & Summer Style Issue, featuring the most beautiful and ethnically diverse group of women ever assembled for a major magazine calendar and swimsuit shoot.
Hip Hop Weekly is already one of the more remarkable success stories in the magazine publishing industry, as the publication was launched and has flourished during what is widely considered one of the most challenging business environments ever for magazines.
“During the last 3 years, as overall newsstand sales for the consumer magazine industry have declined, Hip Hop Weekly has been an outstanding bright spot, completely bucking the industry trend by experiencing sales growth of 20% for 2009 versus 2008,” said Anthony DiBisceglie, VP of Business Development for Curtis Circulation, one of the leading magazine distributors in the world. “The magazine’s recent entrance into the Walmart checkout program has also been very successful, and poises Hip Hop Weekly for expansion into the vast checkout sector of the newsstand business.”
The Courtney Barnes