Sports Illustrated, the pinnacle of sports journalism and of course swimsuits, is getting into the sports betting business.
Authentic Brand Group (ABG), which owns and operates Sports Illustrated, has announced a partnership with 888 Holdings to launch SI Sportsbook. The sportsbook will start out small and launch in one market, Colorado sometime in the second half of 2021.
ABG and 888 will slowly rollout SI Sportsbook to other states with New Jersey, Indiana and Iowa the next three on their list following the launch in Colorado. There is a reportedly a strategy in place to get SI Sportsbook into at least 10 states by 2022-23.
When is Sports Illustrated sportsbook launching?
Under the terms of the deal signed between ABG and 888 it could be a lengthy one, with the option to be renewed for up to 20 years. 888 will receive exclusive rights to all of Sports Illustrated digital channels, its print magazine, and all brands associated with SI for sports betting and iGaming.
SI Sportsbook will be the primary sports betting brand to come out of the partnership. There will also be increased betting information and data added to SI.com and gambling-theme issues of the Sports Illustrated magazine.
Through the joint venture Sports Illustrated will take a 4.99 percent equity stake with options to acquire further equity in the future. These options include a further five percent stake for $15 million and another five per cent stake for an additional $25 million.
The new partnership fills a void for 888 which has reportedly been looking for a media partner for some time. With print media slowly dying Sports Illustrated doesn’t carry the weight it once did.
The print magazine reported 1.7 million subscribers in 2020 which was down from three million in 2018. However, SI’s online presence remains strong, as they report to have 30 million monthly visitors to SI.com, who will have direct exposure to SI Sportsbook.