Time Inc. to Launch Sports Illustrated Broadcasting and Digital Network Across Asia
Time Inc. announced a wide-ranging partnership with ASN Ltd. to develop a Sports Illustrated sports broadcasting and digital network across Asia. The new alliance will rebrand the Hong Kong-based, Pan-Asian ASN and ASN2 pay TV sports channels, companion websites, and mobile apps to “Sports Illustrated/Sports Illustrated 2.” The partners will also collaborate on daily programming development, coverage of global sporting events, and expansion of worldwide distribution across linear networks, SVOD, OTT, digital, mobile, and emerging platforms and technologies. Sports Illustrated/Sports Illustrated 2 in Asia is scheduled for a spring 2016 debut.
The partnership leverages Time Inc.’s access, video, technology, marketing, and international expansion initiatives with ASN’s established presence and growing popularity in the region. Time Inc. will also provide the infrastructure technology for the networks’ websites and mobile apps that will power the launch and scalability of the initiative. The two companies will work to cultivate new marketing and advertising sales opportunities.
“This groundbreaking partnership speaks to the power of all our brands—in this case Sports Illustrated—and enables us to build a significant international presence across new platforms,” says Steve Marcopoto, President, Time Inc. International. “Our partners at ASN have built a strong foundation, and together we look forward to creating a differentiated and compelling sports network in the most populous region in the world.”
The new Sports Illustrated/Sports Illustrated 2 networks will feature a mix of event coverage and original video programming from SI Group brands (SI, SI Kids and FanSided) surrounding live—and in some markets, exclusive—broadcasts of many popular sports leagues and events, including the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup finals, and March Madness. Popular video franchises such as the award-winning Underdogs series and SI films will be heavily featured on the network, along with local adaptations featuring powerful stories from the region.
“There is tremendous potential for Sports Illustrated to flourish as a global sports brand,” says Rich Battista, Time Inc. EVP/President Entertainment & Sports Group and Video. “This exciting partnership will see our sports properties heavily integrated in a region of the world where the appetite for premier global sports coverage is exploding and growth opportunities abound.”
ASN debuted in 2008 as the region’s first 24/7 Pan-Asian HD sports network featuring live U.S. sports content. The two English-language channels ASN and ASN2 reach 29MM homes via 20 leading operators in 12 territories, including Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The network has rights deals for the NFL, NHL, NCAA football and basketball, March Madness, and NASCAR, among other content partnerships.
“We are very excited to join forces with one of the most revered sports media brands in the world to build a full-fledged TV, web and mobile network,” says Tom Kressner, CEO and Founder of ASN. “We feel that the partnership with Time Inc. is a recognition of our position as the ‘Home of American Sports in Asia.’ In the coming months, we will bring an unparalleled amount of high-caliber sports content to more platforms and in more local languages than ever.”
SI TV is part of a series of new products and innovations extending the Sports Illustrated brand to millennial sports fans across their preferred platforms and devices. These include the formation of Sports Illustrated Play, a new business devoted to youth and amateur sports; the acquisition of FanSided, a millennials-focused digital sports network of 300+ blogs; the creation of the Sports Illustrated Films production unit, Campus Rush, a new content vertical devoted to the culture and lifestyle of college sports; and Sports Illustrated Overtime, a new branded content studio.
On the new partnership with ASN, Time Inc.’s Chief Technology Officer Colin Bodell says, “The combination of compelling sports content and technology being provided by Time Inc. is enabling a swift launch and establishes the company as a provider of turn-key solutions for new and emerging markets.”