10 independent sports magazines everyone should read
Sport is a popular category for independent publishers, and the diverse range of titles we come across demonstrate a real enthusiasm and fandom for the different types of games and sporting activities. We’re also seeing more and more publishers treat their favourite sports with artful, philosophical, political and extremely obsessive consideration, using the experience of athletics as a medium for engaging with others and finding meaning in the world around them.
Read on for our 10 favourite independent sports magazines that anyone would find thrilling and inspiring…
Taking a characterful and playful look at tennis, Racquet is a quarterly that celebrates the art, culture, style, and everything else surrounding the sport. We’ve read a personal piece by Andrea Petkovic on her rival, and found out the true relationship between a clothing brand and its muse — their excellent writing and beautiful design will make you see tennis like you’ve never seen before.
Using sport as a starting point, Good Sport touches on a spectrum of human experiences that starts with stadium junk food, and extends to a running program at a rehabilitation centre for torture victims. Through the most mundane physical activities, like running or playing basketball with the locals, the magazine’s superb photography and personal narratives compels even the most inactive reader.
This is the biggest magazine on our roundup — physically, the large format Victory Journal will take up a quarter of your desk space. But most imposing is the full-bleed images inside, with photography that captures every bead of sweat on a sprinter’s furrowed brow, and every pull of muscle on a boxer’s left hook. Published out of Brooklyn, NY, it will seize you with its stories of astonishing feats of athleticism.
The newest sports magazine on this lineup is Athleta. Published in both Italian and English, this is a thoughtful, explorative photography title channelling what it deems as the essence of sports: resilience. Telling stories of growth, overcoming, desire and glory, it provides an intimate look into the life of extraordinarily inspiring athletes. Take a look at some select photography from their first issue.
Many of the titles on this lineup are completely accessible to the least sporty reader, and Shukyu fits snugly into that description. Even though non-Japanese readers have to rely on a translation supplement, the charming stories they tell make it all worth it. Take ‘Football Memories’ from their most recent issue on youth — football fans revisit their childhood wardrobes to find a pair of memorable trainers, to retrieve touching and funny anecdotes about a big game, a crucial tryout, or their youthful aspirations.
The only publication on this lineup with a feminist focus (market gap, anyone?), Season zine is a cross between a football zine and a fashion publication. Featuring work from emerging creatives, it has a fun, grassroots feel. From a feature with mums of a local football club, to the decisive back-facing portrait covers, it does a great job of championing the passions of a female fan.
Mundial is football magazine more interested in the cultural aspects of the sport, rather than who’s going to make each squad. Read it for the travel, the fans, the kits, the boots and the people surrounding the game.
Mondial by Rapha
Not to be confused the one above, Mondial is a magazine by cycling label Rapha. But this is not strictly a cycling magazine, just like how it’s not purely a brand magazine. Behind the pristine design, you’ll find pages of excellent editorial that speak to those who are interested in art, graphic design, style, photography and of course, sport.
Traversing the globe in search of green lawns with the best stories to tell, Caddie is a golf title that likes to travel. But not all of the courses they visit are of the perfectly manicured variation — you’ll see a golf club in war-torn Kabul, an ancient driving range in Intramuros (the walled city in the Philippines), or even a course in the Arctic Circle of Norway.
Inspired by elegant sports magazines like The Green Soccer Journal, Franchise is an LA-based title taking an artistic approach to basketball culture. Amongst enthralling photography and cheerful illustrations of hoops, courts and players, find fan diaries from Madison Square Garden, interviews with musicians, and installations and artworks inspired by the celebrated sport.
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