A company called Maven is now to run Sports Illustrated for Authentic Brands Group (ABG).
Last month, ABG bought Sports Illustrated Magazine from Meredith Corporation for $110 million, and they announced that Meredith Corp. will continue to run the magazine for at least two more years, with the old editor and publisher still onboard. Chris Stone, the Editor-in-Chief, stated that the deal would allow them to keep producing quality, award-winning content and give Sports Illustrated a chance to grow in areas such as e-sports.
However, this Monday during an SEC filing, Maven claimed that it has a licensing deal to run the physical copy of the magazine and the website. Ross Levinsohn, the former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, is meant to be the CEO and manage day-to-day operations. Sports Illustrated will soon be changing its name to Sports Illustrated Media.
While the terms of the contract were not disclosed, it is known that Maven paid $45 million up front and that it will get publishing rights until 2029. After that, there’s a possibility that they might be renewed.
Authentic Brands Group claims that they’re still negotiating the involvement of the new publisher, but Meredith Corporation might still work for the magazine. It would appear that Meredith has long been planning to sell titles that didn’t fit its image, which is how Time magazine ended up in the hands of Marc Benioff.
ABG specializes in managing entertainment, fashion, and sports, so acquiring Sports Illustrated is a perfect fit. It will provide the opportunity for brand growth and an expanded reach in social media and the digital domain, which includes sports gambling and e-sports.
ABG will be responsible for the marketing and business planning portion, while Maven will manage the creative side. These two companies will split the revenue for the parts of the business that Maven isn’t licensing.
Maven is a relatively unknown startup, but last week they acquired TheStreet financial site for $16.5 million. ABG plans to invest in this small company and help it rise to success. It’s also important to note that Ross Levinsohn was recently accused of sexual misconduct and put on paid leave while he was still managing Los Angeles Time magazine. He was consequently cleared of all charges by Tronc company and put in charge of all future Tribune Interactive divisions.