Sports Illustrated is now part of the Authentic Brands Group (ABG) portfolio after Meredith Corporation sold the intellectual property for $110 million.
ABG will assume the marketing, business development and licensing functions of the Sports Illustrated intellectual property and brand, while the print magazine and SI.com will maintain editorial independence as it continues to operate under the leadership of Meredith’s editor-in-chief Chris Stone and publisher Danny Lee.
"We're thrilled that (ABG) and Meredith share the vision of SI management to build a premium sports platform," says Chris Stone, editor-in-chief, Sports Illustrated. "In addition to continuing to produce independent, award-winning journalism and storytelling–what Jamie Salter has described as the heart of SI–we are now perfectly positioned, with the support and resources of ABG, to thrive in many other spaces: events and conferences, licensing, gambling and gaming, IP development, especially in video and TV, to name a few, all while continuing to benefit from Meredith's industry-leading track record in operating media companies."
According to ABG, the driving force behind this acquisition is to enhance the Sports Illustrated brand, not only bringing a new era for the magazine and digital platform, but to build a strategic broad-based licensing program for new products, content and live events.
"This strategic partnership brings a new approach to media brand development, and we're excited to leverage Meredith and ABG’s respective strengths to enhance and build upon Sports Illustrated's undeniable value," says John Zieser, chief development officer, Meredith. "We will also combine our world-class media platform and consumer audience with ABG's brand development, marketing and licensing expertise to develop other media-driven opportunities across the company's portfolio."
The deal for the Sports Illustrated brand adds on to another recent sports-related company purchase from ABG. It recently acquired skateboarding and lifestyle brand Volcom earlier this year.