Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2013: Newest Edition Will Be One of Best Ever

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03:  Swimsuit model Kate Upton attends the New York Knicks game against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Despite losing a bit of its cultural impact, the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue projects to be one its best of all time.

The Swimsuit Issue has been a staple of Sports Illustrated. 1964 was the first year it chose to give its readers a swimsuit issue, with Babette March earning the honor of cover girl. The magazine stumbled on to a golden goose in the coming decades.

The success of the issue is very important to SI and its parent company, Time, Inc. Some may consider the Swimsuit Issue nothing more than filler, but the revenue it generates is off the charts. As Lance Madden of writes:

The swimsuit edition became a stand-alone issue for Sports Illustrated in 1997, and has become one of Time Inc.’s biggest revenue drivers over the years, bringing in more than $1 billion. In 2005 alone, the swimsuit issue generated an estimated $35 million in ad sales. On top of that there are outside merchandise sales like calendars, too. Today, it generates about seven percent of SI’s annual revenue.

Over the past couple of years, it has gotten some major competition from ESPN The Magazine in the form of the Body Issue. Without getting too explicit, the Body Issue features male and female athletes in all of their nude glory.

In order to remain relevant, Sports Illustrated knows that it has to keep the quality of the Swimsuit Issue high. If the readers aren't happy with the product, they can very easily find a different medium that will provide what they're looking for.

This year does not disappoint. Although the cover is as far as many have gotten to seeing the 2013 edition, it doesn't take much imagination to think about what's inside.

From a quality perspective, you can't find pictures like the ones in the magazine anywhere else. The photographers are some of the best in the business. With the kind of technology available at those professionals' fingertips, readers are treated to ridiculously high-quality pictures.

While some may argue with the content of the photographs, nobody can complain about how good they are from a purely quality perspective. When you throw that together with the stunning models and incredible locales, it's a winning combination.

2013's edition will feature the likes of Nina Agdal, Hannah Davis and Katherine Webb. And of course there's the cover girl, Kate Upton, who's the first to get the honor in back-to-back years since Tyra Banks in 1996-97. Webb is already a household name courtesy of Brent Musburger, and Davis has become visible as the DirecTV genie.

If you haven't seen it, Bleacher Report tweeted out what the 2013 cover will look like:

Upton is without a doubt one of the hottest women in the world. She might not top the list, but Upton is among the top candidates. Plus it's hard to argue she isn't absolutely scorching on the cover. That picture is sure to grab anybody's attention when they pass by the issue on newsstands.