In 2018, Sports Illustrated was acquired by Meredith as part of the sale of Time, Inc., but the company long made it known they planned on selling the rights to the iconic sports magazine.
On Monday, they accomplished that goal in selling the rights to the magazine to Authentic Brands Group, which owns marketing rights to the likes of Shaq and Muhammad Ali, although Meredith will continue to serve as publisher for the print magazine and the magazine’s website for the next two years. There’s no details on what will happen beyond that, but for now the two sides will partner together to grow the magazine’s brand and footprint in digital, print, and beyond.
As the Associated Press notes, ABG’s involvement with the magazine will now be mostly in expanding its presence across mediums.
Authentic said it sees opportunities to grow Sports Illustrated in digital, TV and social media, making it “a leader in lifestyle and entertainment.”
Authentic will take over marketing and business development and will look for other licensing opportunities in products, original content and live events. The company said it sees opportunity to use the Sports Illustrated brand in growing markets for sports gambling and video game competitions known as esports.
It’s an interesting partnership, but hopefully one that will keep Sports Illustrated more than just alive, but thriving in years to come. It has long been the gold standard in the world of sports journalism and continues to produce some of the best stories and features in the industry.