Sports Illustrated Looks for a Sports Betting Partner

by Administrator

The owner of Sports Illustrated is reportedly shopping betting companies for a future partnership that could take place before the year is up.

Authentic Brands Group chairman Jamie Salter called it “a game-changer” in a recent interview but declined to identify which betting company ABG was in talks.

ABG is in talks with several betting companies to license the name “SI Bets”. Salter said the deal would boost digital traffic, and “SI Bets” would be accessible through the Sports Illustrated website.

ABG acquired Sports Illustrated for $110 million in May 2019 before it was licensed to Maven, which manages the site’s platform but not the content. Maven came under fire after making cuts when it first took over in October and then again in March due to COVID-19.

Sports Illustrated and Sports Betting

Sports Illustrated is probably one of the most recognized names in the sports journal market. It’s been around since 1954 and, although it got off to a slow start back then due to a lack of interest in sports journalism, it is now a common fixture in the industry.

With sports gambling now front and center in the U.S., it only fits that the iconic magazine look to get involved, and SI’s parent company, Authentic Brands Group, is said to be in the market for a sports gambling partner it can connect with the publication.

The result will be the birth of the SI Bets brand. ABG is reportedly already talking to someone about the deal but is keeping the details under wraps for now. There is also chatter that more than one sports gambling entity could be involved, with offers on the table to license the SI Bets name.

ABG owns SI, but licenses all media operations to Maven, a digital publishing and distribution platform. It paid $45 million against future royalties to take hold of the rights to SI last year, and a similar deal could be seen between ABG and sports gambling operators who want to license the SI Bets brand. More than likely, however, the price tag would be much lower.

SI’s website includes a section for gambling and daily fantasy sports, so there is already some interaction with the industry on the part of its subscribers. ABG can use this to leverage license costs for operators willing to step up. Still, if it thinks it can command anything close to $450 million, which is what Penn National Gaming just paid to buy Barstool Sports, it’s going to be greatly disappointed.

Can Sports Illustrated Rebound?

With Sports Illustrated trying to enter the sports betting market, this could help their platform rebound from a decline over the last few years.

In October, when Maven bought a portion of Sports Illustrated, they made cuts right off the bat and came under scrutiny. Then, Maven made more cuts when COVID-19 hit the U.S.

The cuts show Sports Illustrated is struggling to stay afloat in the new digital age and could use a boost from getting into the sports betting industry. SI Bets could become a big player in sports betting, depending on the company they partner with.