Friday, 23 August, 2019

Sports Illustrated brand gets sold for US$100m

Sports Illustrated sold to Authentic Brands for $110 million Sports Illustrated featured the Houston Astros George Springer on a 2014 cover
Russell Knight | 30 May, 2019, 21:29

Sports Illustrated is one of the most important sports magazines of all time and yesterday, it was revealed that the publication was sold to Authentic Brands Group for $110 million, according to CNN. ABG will develop broad-based licensing programs under the Sports Illustrated brand spanning product, original 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", said John Zieser, chief development officer at Meredith.

Among other things, Authentic handles Frye and Tretorn brands and parts of the Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley estates. The company will license the biweekly magazine and website back to Meredith for at least two years as part of the deal.

The purchase includes New York-headquartered Authentic Brands getting the intellectual property of the iconic magazine that will comprise of Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Kids, Sportsperson of the Year, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, SI and SI TV, the companies said in a statement. Against that backdrop, ESPN the Magazine announced this year that it would no longer be publishing regular print issues. The firm, which took home FN's 2018 Company of the Year award, has established itself as a fashion and footwear powerhouse - picking up the Nautica brand from VF Corp. last March, purchasing Nine West and Bandolino out of bankruptcy in June and securing Camuto Group in October.

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ABG already generates $9.3 billion in global retail sales annually. Authentic says Sports Illustrated has an audience of more than 120 million people online and in print.

Meredith sold Fortune to Thai billionaire Chatchaval Jiaravanon in November, and chose to take Money magazine off the market in April, turning it instead into a digital-only publication. It made almost $300 million from the sale of Time Inc. assets in its fiscal 2018.

Even so, Sports Illustrated still reaches 175 million USA consumers each month, according to Meredith.

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