Authentic Brands Group has finalised the purchase of the intellectual property of Sports Illustrated from Meredith Corporation in a deal valued at $110 million. The acquisition adds yet another new arm to ABG’s growing portfolio, which currently generates over $9.3 billion in global retail sales a year.
The deal now allows ABG to forge a strategic partnership with the media powerhouse Meredith, to build a global platform across the worlds of sports, culture and entertainment. ABG will take on the task of developing the business and licensing functions for Sports Illustrated.
“We are honoured to welcome Sports Illustrated to the ABG family,” said Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and CEO of ABG.
“As one of the most iconic brands in sports media, SI is a cultural centerpiece with massive opportunities for growth across its burgeoning digital, TV and social platforms and industry-leading print magazine. SI’s trusted name and fiercely devoted following set the stage for the brand to become a leader in lifestyle and entertainment.”
The print magazine and SI.com will maintain editorial independence and continue to operate under the leadership of Meredith and editor-in-chief Chris Stone and publisher Danny Lee.
“We are delighted to find a great home for Sports Illustrated with ABG, one of the world’s premier brand owners and licensors,” said Jon Werther, president, Meredith National Media Group. “Additionally, we are excited about the opportunity to fully integrate Sports Illustrated’s print and digital products into Meredith’s operations. We believe our proven expertise in content creation and sales and marketing will greatly enhance the vitality and profitability of these channels.”
Sports Illustrated’s enterprise includes a top 10 sports website, storied print magazine, rising TV and digital platform, Emmy award-winning digital innovation and enduring franchises including Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and the nationally televised Sportsperson of the Year award ceremony.
The print magazine has shaped the narrative around sports culture over the last six decades, publishing thousands of covers featuring the world’s most disruptive professional athletes including Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams and Tiger Woods, as well as influential sports teams, celebrities and political figures.
“Sports have a remarkable way of bringing people together – regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status, the experiences shared by sports fans around the world are unifying and indelible,” said Nick Woodhouse, president and CMO of ABG.
“As a trailblazer and cultural phenomenon, Sports Illustrated has created moments and experiences for its readers that are unmatched by any other sports brand. We look forward to working with Meredith to extend Sports Illustrated’s legacy and connect the brand with new audiences around the world.”