The growth of the US legal sports betting industry continues to baffle. It seems like every day that a new jurisdiction or a new betting provider comes into the fold looking to capitalize on what is expected to be a $10 billion industry by 2025.
We can add an iconic, 67-year-old sports publication to the long list of sportsbooks battling for market share in the exploding US legal sports betting scene. Thanks to a deal with UK-based 888 Holdings, an established brand in the European market, the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook has come to market quickly in Colorado, beating estimates of a late-2021 launch.
Last month was when Sports Illustrated’s desire to came to light, founder, Chairman and CEO of Authentic Brands Group Jamie Salter, parent company of Sports Illustrated 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.”
The sports viewing experience has evolved quickly the last two or so years to include sports betting content. Pro leagues, teams and even pro sports venues have been quick to jump on sports betting provider partnerships and have fully embraced the legal sports wagering world as an essential part of their business.
Other top tier media brands such as NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Sinclair Broadcasting and FOX to name just a few have also embraced the legal sports betting industry and have high-end, critical sports wagering partnerships in place that expands their offerings to include betting content.
It seems like a logical step for Sports Illustrated and their 30 million estimated monthly unique users to attempt to capitalize on the exponential growth of the wagering industry. Aligning with a Heavyweight brand 888 Sports made the move a seamless one and even more of an obvious step.
“Sports wagering represents a large and high-growth market, allowing us to diversify the brand’s revenue streams and engage directly with our sports consumers, broadening the reach of the brand,” said Jamie Salter.
Colorado should be a good jumping-off point for the SI sportsbook as their first jurisdiction to enter the US legal sports betting space. Another brand-new brand MaximBet was launched in Colorado last week – SI should almost fill out the full menu of sportsbook options for the state.
Colorado has been one of the more reliable markets in the country since its launch in May 2020. It appears as though there is plenty to go around in that market. As an already recognizable and established name in the sports world, Sports Illustrated should have an advantage in finding its own niche in the bustling Colorado market.
Yaniv Sherman, SVP and Head of US at 888, commented: “We are proud to launch the SI Sportsbook in Colorado. We strongly believe we have developed a unique and differentiated sports wagering experience that combines the power of our proprietary technology platform with one of the most impactful sports media brands for nearly 70 years. By partnering with Sports Illustrated, we have created a strong platform that enables us to build our US position through Sports Illustrated’s extensive brand footprint. This provides an opportunity to cost-effectively acquire customers and build a profitable business over time.”
What SI Will Bring to Market
Sports Illustrated has 67 years of sports reporting under its belt. It boasts one of the most impressive, professional and trusted stable of writers on the planet. The addition of sports betting content may seem on its face a huge leap, but to some extent, predictions and previews of games have been a part of their offerings anyway.
“Sports Illustrated is the most trusted brand name in sports, and trust in the gaming space is paramount,” said Ross Levinsohn, CEO of Maven, operator of Sports Illustrated’s print and digital assets in June. “The editorial, content and betting experience will reflect the integrity and ethos that SI has maintained for more than six decades.”
Immediately, new sports betting focussed offerings such as Bet Finder courtesy of Metabet, Free To Play games from Chalkline and NFL and College Football betting insights from DataSkrive will be added to the SI content portfolio.
Sports Illustrated is expecting big things from their foray into the legal sports betting industry. Company brass is shooting for a 5% market share once launch in four top-tier states is completed and those platforms approach maturity. 888 Sports and their established technology stack will go a long way in helping SI with that lofty goal.
SI Sportsbooks hopes to be live in 13-15 jurisdictions in the US within the next 2-3 years and has its eyes on New Jersey, Iowa and Indiana in the next few months.
It will be tough to bet against Sports Illustrated and their Heavyweight status within the US sporting scene. Expect to hear more for the SI Sportsbook going forward as they infiltrate the exploding US legal sports betting scene.