Sports Illustrated and Maven kicked off SI’s new business model just over a month ago, and the company has seen immediate positive growth and improvement. During the month of October, SI transitioned to Maven’s tech platform, which dramatically improved user experience. SI launched a network of team-specific channels that attracted millions of new users and added acclaimed sports journalist Pat Forde to its staff. Maven also began its plan to reimagine the core magazine product, committing to improved quality in production, paper weight and investment in journalism.
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SI’s transition to Maven’s tech platform dramatically improved user experience. (Photo: Business Wire)
SI’s 80 new team channels — featuring local market journalists across college football, the NFL and the NBA — eventually will include every major sports team in North America. The new channels added more than 4 million users in the first month, according to Google Analytics, and produced more than 5,000 stories, including videos and commentary.
Forde, who was previously Yahoo’s lead college sports columnist, brings a wealth of experience to the iconic sports brand. The Pulitzer-nominated journalist hit the ground running and has already broken news and driven in-depth reporting.
The technical migration of Sports Illustrated’s website to Maven’s platform improved page load speed by 300% and boosted user engagement and page views per session. A bold new design will be introduced no later than January.
SI’s digital reinvention is accompanied by a reshaping of its print product. Under its 100-year licensing agreement, Maven will publish at least 27 issues across its print offerings – 28 in Olympic and World Cup years, which include 6 SI Kids and 6 celebratory issues. In addition, exclusive digital membership products will be added to subscription offerings. SI print products will emphasize in-depth features and investigative reporting. Improved production quality will include increases in paper weight and size.
Maven’s digital coalition provides Sports Illustrated and its team-focused partners a sustainable business model of mass distribution within Maven’s audience of 100 million. More than 300 premium media brands are now operating on Maven’s digital platform. Brands such as TheStreet, History, Biography, Indian Country Today, Yoga Journal, Backpacker Magazine, Ski Magazine, and Rachael Ray share Maven’s efficient technology, distribution, and dual-revenue monetization. These assets provide a foundation from which SI’s world-class journalism, as well as independent media partners and entrepreneurial journalists, can focus on providing professional coverage and engagement, as well as directly from local fields of play and locker rooms.
“The improvement to the consumer experience and breadth and depth of content has had an immediate positive impact,” said Ross Levinsohn, CEO of Sports Illustrated. “The groundbreaking reporting and storytelling from SI journalists, coupled with local, on the ground team reporting, has added a new dimension to this incredible brand.”
In October, Sports Illustrated continued to break news and drive the sports conversation, highlighted by Stephanie Apstein’s coverage of the World Series and inappropriate behavior by a member of the Astros front office, Michael Rosenberg’s cover story on 15-year-old basketball phenom Emoni Bates, and Michael McKnight’s gripping piece on how high school sports have helped the recovery of the fire-ravaged town of Paradise, Calif.
Combining team-specific coverage with Sports Illustrated’s growing list of renowned journalists creates a proprietary, holistic media experience for sports fans everywhere. Recent college sports team channel signees include:
- John Bohnenkamp, 17-time winner of the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) National Top 10 honor and 2012 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year, to cover the Iowa Hawkeyes.
- Zach Lentz, author of the Amazon sports No. 1 bestseller, “The Journey to the Top,” to cover the Clemson Tigers.
- Christopher Walsh, author of 26 books and a seven-time Football Writers Association of America award winner, to cover the Alabama Crimson Tide.
- Brant Wilkerson, a four-time APSE Top 10 honoree, to cover the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Maven’s success in attracting great journalists to its new business model extends to the NFL. One of the bright talents in the growing network is Patricia Traina, who has covered the New York Giants for more than 20 years for Inside Football, the Sports Xchange, Forbes, SB Nation, The Athletic – New York, Lindy’s Pro Football Annual Preview and Bleacher Report. A member of the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA), Traina also is the host and producer of Locked On Giants, a daily podcast featuring guests, analysis, and more. Her first book, “The Big 50: New York Giants: The Men and Moments that Made the New York Giants,” is scheduled to be published by Triumph Books in early 2020.
“I am truly excited by the opportunity to be a part of such an encompassing, in-depth approach at Sports Illustrated,” Traina said. “I’ve dedicated my career to getting to know the Giants organization, their players, and the forces behind the team on a very deep level. Sports Illustrated on Maven’s platform gives me the freedom to write what I know the fans want to read, give them a behind-the-scenes look at the men and moments that are part of their favorite team, and engage in our growing community on SI’s new NY Giants site.”
About Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is the preeminent journalistic enterprise covering the world of sports on and off the field. Since debuting in 1954, SI has garnered worldwide acclaim for its award-winning storytelling, independent voice and its unparalleled access to the most popular athletes and newsmakers from the sports world. Sports Illustrated reaches consumers through multiple platforms, products and franchises, including the print magazine, video and a top 10 digital sports network.
Maven (maven.io) is a coalition of Mavens, from individual thought-leaders to world-leading independent publishers, operating on a shared digital publishing, monetization and distribution platform, unified under a single media brand. Based in Seattle, Maven is publicly traded under the ticker symbol MVEN.