Sports Illustrated, the once extremely popular magazine, is now looking to get into the growing sports betting industry. Authentic Brands Group is the parent company of Sports Illustrated, and it recently reached a partnership with 888 Holdings.
Authentic Brands Group does not have any background or knowledge of the US sports betting industry, but that is where 888 Holdings can help out. The 888 Sportsbook has already made a name for itself in the US, and this will allow Sports Illustrated to make a seamless transition into the industry.
These two companies announced that the SI Sportsbook is set to launch by the end of 2021, but this partnership is still in the very beginning stages. This potential launch could be backed by a transition in what the SI magazine looks like to its readers.
A brand new gambling-themed issue of Sports Illustrated is set to come out this August, and that will help readers understand what is about to take place. Authentic Brands Group also intends to incorporate more sports betting news stories into future editions of the magazine.
Jamie Salter is the founder of ABG, and he could not have been more thrilled when announcing this new partnership. According to Salter:
“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.”
888 holdings is based in the UK, but it has already broken into the iGaming industry in the US. At this time, 888 is most known for its online casino options, but sports betting is the biggest ticket, and that has been a focus of the company.
Not only is Sports Illustrated a big name for sports fans in the US, but that magazine is willing to go the extra step to promote the industry. Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, stated:
“It will give us the local brand we were missing, access to a huge audience, and opportunity to communicate with this audience on an ongoing basis.”
Colorado Could Be the First Target
The announcement of this partnership also detailed an aggressive plan for the new SI Sportsbook. Colorado is the first state that will likely see this new sports betting option as 888 already has market access there.
The Grande Casino in Cripple Creek has already brought 888 Holdings on as a partner, and that is where this new sportsbook will launch. Colorado is one of the fastest-growing sports betting markets in the US, but it is also a state with plenty of competition.
888 Holdings has also secured market access in both Indiana and Iowa, and the Midwest portion of the US is a hotbed of sports betting. Those two markets will likely be next on the list and could happen almost simultaneously.
The overall plan is to have the SI Sportsbook available in a total of 10 states by the end of 2021, but that seems a bit aggressive. The success of the first launch in Colorado will likely dictate how the rest of the year will go.