The sports betting industry will get a new player later this year as Sports Illustrated, via parent company Authentic Brand Groups (ABG), has joined forces with 888 Holdings to launch SI Sportsbook, an online sports betting and iGaming platform, in the United States.
The deal was announced on Wednesday by AGB Founder, Chairman and CEO Jamie Salter:
“We are thrilled to announce that Sports Illustrated is entering the online sports betting and iGaming space. 888 is one of the leaders in online betting and gaming globally and has outstanding technology, products and marketing capabilities, and we are excited to partner with them to offer an innovative product experience for sports fans.”
Missing Piece of 888’s U.S. Puzzle
The agreement, which Bloomberg reported to be for 20 years, will give London-listed and Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings exclusive rights to the Sports Illustrated brand, known for its Sports Magazine. In return, AGB will receive an undisclosed licensing fee and a 5% minority passive interest in 888.
888 considers the deal to be the missing piece of their U.S. puzzle. It gives 888 Holding Plc the local brand it is missing and with SI’s millions of subscribers, access to a larger audience and the opportunity to communicate with that audience in an ongoing basis.
SI’s website SI.com is also ranked third behind Yahoo Sports and ESPN when it comes to unique visitors and is the 5th most popular sports website in the United States. It has an estimated 20 million unique monthly readers, ranking it 2nd behind CBSSports’ 30M count.
In a statement from ABG, the first SI Sportsbook is expected to launch in Colorado later this year. 888 has access to the Colorado market via its partnership with Colorado Grande Casino.
Currently, 888 operates the 888Sport Brand in New Jersey since 2018. Aside from Colorado, it also has access to Indiana and Iowa.The partners plan to expand to 10 other markets after the first two years of operations.
Sports Illustrated will also start creating thorough sports betting coverage. The content will provide analysis and other resources which will give detailed information to both veteran and beginner sports bettors. Likewise, a gambling themed edition of the magazine will be released in August.