The indie mags that are changing the face of sport

We speak to the teams behind Victory Journal, Spiral and Glorious about how they are helping reshape perceptions of sport through a combination of insightful editorial and striking visuals

Sport has long been fertile ground for making magazines, as the competition and drama inherent in all sports naturally makes for compelling imagery and storytelling. The face of the mainstream sports media, however, has a longstanding reputation for being overly male, pale and stale. This narrative has been changing more recently, in large part thanks the raft of independent publications that are giving women’s sport the attention it deserves and shining a light on less conventional activities ranging from chess to wild water swimming.

Based between New York and LA and brought to life by creative studio Doubleday & Cartwright, Victory Journal is one of the pioneers of the indie sports mag scene. It first launched in 2010 as a 16-page loose-fold newsprint distributed in downtown New York during the football World Cup. Ten years later, the latest issue of the famously oversized publication weighs in at a record 210 pages, and it boasts subscribers everywhere from London to Tokyo.

Top: Los in the Valley by Maria Svarbova, courtesy Glorious. Above: Victory Journal Issue 18

Over the last decade, the team behind Victory, which includes editor-in-chief Christopher Isenberg, chief creative officer Aaron Amaro and photo editor Shane Lyons, have championed a move away from clichéd sports imagery in favour of more humanistic photography, establishing close relationships with creatives including Cheryl Dunn and Anthony Blasko in the process.