Sports Illustrated Begins Rollout of Sportsbook

    • Sports Illustrated is launching a sportsbook, launching first in Colorado.
    • The brand will rollout in New Jersey, Indiana, and Iowa soon.

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Sports Illustrated, which has been in circulation for 67 years, is starting a new chapter with the launch of its sportsbook in Colorado.

SI Sportsbook will be live in New Jersey, Iowa, and Indiana in the coming months.

The move was foretold in June when Sports Illustrated and online gambling company 888 Holdings announced a partnership in which 888 acquired rights for up to 20 years to use SI’s name and brand in betting, igaming, and brick-and-mortar locations. SI Sportsbook is the first major result of that tie-up.

Sports Illustrated’s parent company, Authentic Brands Group, gained a 4.9% stake in 888’s U.S. business, which it can eventually increase to 19.9%, as part of the deal. 

The launch of its betting app caps a period of transition for Sports Illustrated.

  • The publication’s brand and intellectual property were purchased in May 2019 by Authentic Brands for $110 million. 
  • The new parent company aggressively leveraged the brands cache, doubling its EBITDA by Oct. 2020 through at least 15 licensing deals signed after the acquisition.
  • In June, Sports Illustrated launched a global ticketing platform, SI Tix, providing tickets to over 100,000 concerts, theatre, and sporting events.

The launch of the sportsbook is well-timed with the start of the NFL season, which, combined with college football, is expected to see $20 billion in bets placed and $1.5 billion in revenue for sportsbooks.

Sports Illustrated isn’t the only sports media brand looking to leverage its name in sports betting: ESPN has reportedly sought to license its name to a sports betting operator for at least $3 billion.