Authentic Brands and 888 Holdings To Launch Sports Illustrated Branded Online Sportsbook

Kimberly Redmond  |

Image sources: Sports Illustrated, 888 Holdings

British online gambling operator 888 Holdings plc (OTC: EIHDF) plans to offer betting and casino games under the Sports Illustrated brand in the US later this year. 

Under the agreement announced Wednesday, 888 will have exclusive rights to the Sports Illustrated trademark and develop the brand’s online sports betting and gaming products in the US.

In return, Authentic Brands Group, the parent company of Sports Illustrated, will receive an undisclosed licensing fee and a minority passive interest in 888.

The new sports betting service, called SI Sportsbook, is slated to debut in Colorado in the second half of 2021 and expand to 10 other markets by 2023, according to the companies.

Alongside the launch of the sportsbook this fall, Sports Illustrated said it will provide coverage of the sports betting space, including a gambling-themed edition of its iconic magazine. On its website, Sports Illustrated will roll out an array of betting information, tools, data, stories and insight.

In a statement, 888’s chief executive officer Itai Pazner said, “We are excited about the potential to deliver our cutting-edge, proprietary sportsbook platform into the market, providing Sports Illustrated fans with a first-class betting and gaming experience.”

Pazner said the strategic partnership will give 888 “a platform for strong growth in the US” by providing access “to millions of engaged sports fans.”

888 already operates online betting brands like Bingo and Casino in the US and recently extended a poker partnership with Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Reuters noted.

Authentic Brands Group founder, chairman and chief executive officer Jamie Salter said, “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,” Salter added.

After acquiring the Sports Illustrated brand from Meredith Corporation in May 2019 for $110 million, Authentic Brands Group later licensed the magazine’s media operations to tech and digital publisher Maven.  

In August 2020, The New York Post reported that Manhattan-based Authentic Brands Group was in talks with several gambling companies regarding a potential licensing deal for Sports Illustrated. 

Since the Supreme Court ruled to permit wagers outside of Nevada in 2018, sports betting in the US has exploded with more than two dozen states legalizing wagering. 

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The deal between 888 and Sports Illustrated is the latest tie-up between a betting company and sports media brand in an attempt to capitalize on the market’s potential.

 A similar partnership between Fox Bet and Stars Group launched in 2019. 

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Source: Equities News

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