Maven acquires Sports Illustrated publishing rights

Sports Illustrated is on the move for the second time in a month.

The Maven, a small publicly traded firm focused on digital publishing, has acquired the rights to operate the famous sports publication from Authentic Brands, which last month paid $110m to buy the magazine’s intellectual property from Meredith Corp.

As part of the deal with Authentic Brands, Meredith had signed an agreement to continue to publish the magazine and operate the SI website and mobile app for at least two years. But now Maven instead will operate the digital and print editions of Sports Illustrated and Sports Illustrated for Kids, as well as related publications.

Ross Levinsohn, who was most recently the head of digital operations for Tribune Publishing, will serve as chief executive of what will soon be named Sports Illustrated Media.

“Meredith only had a short-term license deal,” Authentic Brands chief executive Jamie Salter told The New York Post. “Now, we have a long-term partner.” Meredith may continue to print the magazine, however, that matter is still under discussion.

According to an SEC filing, Maven has prepaid $45m to Authentic Brands against future royalties under a 10-year licensing agreement, with guaranteed yearly minimum royalty payments in the future.

Meredith acquired Sports Illustrated in January 2018, along other titles, as part of its larger purchase of Time Inc.

Most recent

Pay-television broadcaster BT Sport took advantage of Sky’s long-running concerns over wrestling body WWE’s OTT service to grab WWE rights in the UK and Ireland from its rival at a steep discount, SportBusiness Media understands.

As TikTok has grown into one of the world's most popular social-media apps during the past year, the short-form video-sharing platform has become an important tool for sports rights-holders to expand and engage their fanbases. 

Turkish agency Saran has negotiated a price reduction for rights to the English Premier League for the 2019-22 cycle, SportBusiness Media understands, the first time it has achieved this since acquiring the property at the turn of the decade.

Mola TV, the new entrant to Indonesia’s sports broadcasting market, is employing a novel strategy straddling pay-television, free-to-air and digital distribution channels to exploit the Premier League rights it has acquired for the upcoming 2019-22 cycle.