Sports Illustrated does first-ever third printing for Favre issue

MILWAUKEE -- Favre fever continues in Wisconsin.

On Friday, Sports Illustrated began selling an unprecedented third printing of its Sportsman of the Year issue in Wisconsin. The Dec. 10 issue names Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre its 2007 athlete of the year.

This marks the first time the magazine has done a third printing of an issue, said Karen Dmochowsky, magazine spokeswoman.

Favre, a three-time league MVP, is the fourth quarterback to win the award in its 53-year history.

The magazine's initial printing was 3.2 million, but there was such high demand that Sports Illustrated decided to do a reprint. That was the first time that's happened since NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt died in 2001, Dmochowsky said.

So 50,000 extra copies were sent to Wisconsin, but those sold out quickly too.

Now, 100,000 more copies are hitting newsstands in Packerland and it's unclear how long they'll last.

Bosse's News in Green Bay learned late last week they'd get 1,000 copies of the third printing, manager Lisa Mitchell said. They also got 1,000 copies of the second printing, and those went quickly, causing long lines and disappointment for people who couldn't get there in time, she said. So this time around the store decided to pre-sell copies, all of which were spoken for by Thursday.

People started calling the store at 7 on Friday morning, Mitchell said, but the magazines didn't arrive for a few hours. By midday about half had been picked up, she said. Mitchell figures she could have sold 2,000 more copies.

"Everybody's happy for him that he's playing so well," Mitchell said of Favre. "And happy the Packers are doing so well. It just generates a lot of positive feelings around here."

Even sales of Packers books are up dramatically, she said, with lots of people giving them as Christmas gifts.

Packer mania has been stoked by the team's 12-3 record and its place in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Favre has broken a number of records this year, including Dan Marino's career records for most touchdown passes and most yards passing.

Fans have been buying all sorts of Packers gear at the main retail store at the Packers home, Lambeau Field. On Friday, the Packers Pro Shop got 3,000 copies of the magazine, said Kate Hogan, the team's director of retail operations.

The store doesn't normally carry the magazine but got 1,000 copies of the first printing, assuming fans would want it. The magazines sold out in a day and a half. Then the store got 1,500 copies for the second printing and those sold out too. Hogan said the 3,000 copies should last for a while and ought to make fans happy this weekend, when thousands will be there for the Packer's game against the Detroit Lions.

Fans are limited to four copies each.

"We're trying to take care of as many people as possible," Hogan said.

Some fans are going online to buy and sell the magazine. Copies of the issue were selling on the auction site eBay.com for $10 per issue, about double the cover price.

Mitchell likened the frenzy to the 1996-97 season, when the Packers won the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. People lined up to buy thousands of game programs at the store, she said.

And if the Packers make it to the Super Bowl this year?

"We'll have to be prepared for that," she said. "Oh my goodness. It'll be crazy."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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