The brand and intellectual property of Sports Illustrated have been sold to marketing company Authentic Brands Group for $110 million.
Meredith Corporation (MDP), the current owner of the iconic magazine, announced the sale on Tuesday. In an unusual arrangement, Meredith will continue to publish the Sports Illustrated magazine and website.
The structure of the deal suggests that the Sports Illustrated brand is much more valuable than the storied magazine.
Authentic Brands Group, which owns the brands of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, will assume the marketing, business development and licensing of Sports Illustrated’s intellectual property.
Jamie Salter, CEO of Authentic Brands Group, said in a statement that Sports Illustrated’s “trusted name and fiercely devoted following set the stage for the brand to become a leader in lifestyle and entertainment.”
According to the companies, potential new business opportunities include events, conferences, gambling and gaming products as well as video and television.
Meredith, which is paying Authentic Brands Group an undisclosed fee to publish the Sports Illustrated magazine and website, said it would maintain the publication’s editorial independence.
Sports Illustrated was put up for sale last year along with Time, Fortune and Money magazines, which Meredith acquired via its purchase of Time Inc. Meredith also owns People, InStyle and Better Homes & Gardens.
Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff purchased Time in September.
Meredith sold Fortune to Thai billionaire Chatchaval Jiaravanon in November, and decided to take Money magazine off the market in April, turning it instead into a digital-only publication.