The Time Inc. version of Sports Illustrated magazine was first published on Aug. 16, 1954. However, two other magazines named Sports Illustrated were published beforehand. The first Sports Illustrated magazine was published in 1936 by Stuart Scheftel. Dell Publications released another version of Sports Illustrated in 1949.
When Henry Luce, cofounder of Time Inc. and general publishing tycoon, launched Sports Illustrated in 1954, his colleagues dismissed the idea as folly. Although not initially profitable, after switching from a high-class tone to what "The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine" author Michael MacCambridge describes as a "lucid, irreverent and unapologetic," brand of prose, the magazine went on to elevate the role of sports in society. "It legitimized sports," claimed Ray Cave, former managing editor at Time.