Authentic Brands Group has announced that they are partnering with 888 to develop a sportsbook branded around their Sports Illustrated publication.
The sportsbook will carry the Sports Illustrated name, and according to a statement by SI, the deal will also include “online sports betting and iGaming products in the United States.” The sportsbook is expected to launch later in 2021.
With 888, who has provided the internet gaming technology for many other sportsbooks in the U.S. in the past, the Sports Illustrated sportsbook will launch first in Colorado.
Sports Illustrated is one of the oldest and most trusted publications in North American sports, and dates its first issue back to 1954. They were sold to Authentic Brands Group in 2019 when it was also announced that theMaven, Inc. had acquired editorial licensing rights. The magazine is not the central piece of the business any longer: instead most readers connect with Sports Illustrated and their content via their website.
What This Means For Sports Betting And Media
A Sports Illustrated branded sportsbook and potentially an SI betting app is another step toward the mingling of sports editorial content and sports betting. Traditional media companies are embracing sportsbooks as partners and incorporating odds into their broadcasts and content. Gaming corporations like Bally’s are sponsoring entire regional sports networks. The professional sports leagues themselves, like Major League Baseball, the NFL, NHL, the NBA and their teams, have entered agreements with “official gaming partners” and some are hosting physical sportsbooks at their venues.
The love triangle between sports leagues, the media, and gaming companies is a direct result of legislation that has paved the way for legalized sports betting in the United States. In 2018, the Supreme Court made a ruling that cleared the way for legalized sports betting and casino betting across the country. Since that ruling, 22 states including New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, and several others, have legalized sports betting. Many more, including Maryland, Ohio, and Louisiana, are soon to follow.
Increasingly, sports fans are expecting odds and money lines to be included with the standard information for every sporting event they want to attend or view. While it may seem odd for some older sports fans, consumers are increasingly getting their sports news from companies who have a vested interest in sports betting and revenues garnered from this multi-billion dollar industry. Fans are watching contests and buying tickets for games from leagues that have huge partnerships with gaming companies that attract millions or billions in bets on their competitions.