- Sports Illustrated will partner with 888 to open SI Sportsbook.
- The sportsbook will aim for a Colorado launch first.
- This move would have been unimaginable before SI was put under new management in 2019.
LAS VEGAS - Sports Illustrated has announced a partnership with 888, an online sports betting company.
888 is a well known online sports betting provider, and the deal they struck with Sports Illustrated will allow for sportsbooks to be branded with Sports Illustrated’s authority behind them.
Remember that Sports Illustrated recently underwent a change of management, as Maven - the company that operates the magazine - has focused on utilizing the SI brand while keeping costs as low as possible.
For some, this represents a fatal dip in quality of the magazine as an institution in American sports media.
Under New Management
Bryan Curtis, writing for The Ringer, described the Maven management’s tactics as the “Ruination of Sports Illustrated”.
Ross Levinsohn, CEO of Maven, released a statement to the effect that much of the deal was premised on the idea that people trust Sports Illustrated.
“Sports Illustrated is the most trusted brand name in sports, and trust in the gaming space is paramount. The editorial, content and betting experience will reflect the integrity and ethos that SI has maintained for more than six decades,” said Levinsohn.
Effectively, this amounts to taking the brand “Sports Illustrated”, a trusted name, and licensing it to be the face of a moneymaking venture.
It’s unclear the degree to which this deal was inspired by the success of Barstool Sportsbook, but the idea behind it seems quite similar - take a well known sports media property and partner the brand name with a sportsbook to make some money.
One wonders what future developments will happen in this space, as more legacy media brands realize the moneymaking potential in this style of online gambling business model.