iHeartMedia, Sports Illustrated And Sports Illustrated Studios Announce Multi-Year, Audio Content Deal, Launching Slate Of Original Podcasts
iHeartMedia announced a multi-year exclusive agreement to co-produce eight original podcasts with award-winning sports media brand Sports Illustrated and the newly formed partnership Sports Illustrated Studios, according to a press release from iHeartRadio.
As stated in the press release, “the agreement includes eight new co-produced Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Studios and iHeartRadio original podcasts as well as the distribution of Sports Illustrated’s existing podcasts through the iHeartPodcast Network.”
The iHeartPodcast Network will distribute all eight original titles as well as distribute Sports Illustrated’s existing podcasts across iHeartRadio and everywhere podcasts are heard. Two of the eight original podcasts are set to debut in the first quarter of 2022.
“We are thrilled to partner with Sports Illustrated to introduce a brand-new slate of sports podcasts — limited series and ongoing shows alike, distributed to listeners everywhere,” said Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group said in the statement.
“It’s an iconic brand that sports fans instantly trust, knowing that they will get the most credible and in-depth industry coverage, and we look forward to expanding that footprint into the audio space through the iHeartPodcast Network, where we uniquely have the reach and scale to bring Sports Illustrated the audience and monetization they deserve,” he continued.
The audio joint venture will build upon Sports Illustrated’s world-renowned staple of exceptional journalists and expand upon its legacy of unique storytelling. The Sports Illustrated label will “include editorial-focused content and analysis from the storied media franchise while the Sports Illustrated Studios label will provide scripted and limited series content.”
Set to debut later this year, “Sports Illustrated Weekly” is a weekly podcast that will feature the best of Sports Illustrated’s noteworthy journalistic reputation in a premium audio magazine. Each 45-minute episode will feature “deep-dive segments on the biggest news stories of the week, the most compelling personalities, trends and themes in sports, on and off the field. More details including its host will be announced at a later date.”
“Storytelling is at the core of what SI stands for, and the opportunity to partner with iHeartMedia to create and distribute dynamic stories and shows featuring our incredible voices further expands our footprint,” said Ross Levinsohn, CEO of Sports Illustrated & The Arena Group.
Today, Sports Illustrated reaches more than 50 million monthly visitors across all of its platforms.
Levinsohn also noted that partnering with iHeart is the best way to expand Sports Illustrated’s content.
“iHeart has proven to be a dynamic platform to reach audiences across genres and mediums, and the opportunity to showcase the exceptional voices of Sports Illustrated is paramount to us,” said Ross Levinsohn, CEO of The Area Group and Sports Illustrated.
“The Arena Group too has built a robust platform for storytellers, voices, and brands, and combining our reach of more than 100 million users with iHeart gives us a launchpad to build a new business in a rapidly growing medium,” he continued.
David Hutkin, COO of 101 Studios, who also formed Sports Illustrated Studios, is excited to bring the SI brand into the audio content space.
“While traditionally sports are very visually focused, this venture allows us to introduce audiences to the most memorable events in sports history in unexpected ways, which is precisely the foundation of SI Studios,” Hutkin said.
“With this new partnership, Sports Illustrated, the most trusted brand in sports, and iHeartMedia, the industry’s leading podcast publisher and distributor, we have the unique opportunity to tell these historic, remarkable stories to audiences globally,” he added.
Stephen Cannella, Editor-in-Chief of Sports Illustrated believes that Sports Illustrated’s renowned journalism is suited for audio and iHeart is best partner the bring vision to fruition.
“With our authority and access, Sports Illustrated has always been one of the most powerful voices in sports media,” Cannella said. “Amplifying that voice through this partnership with iHeart Media is an amazing opportunity as we continue to deliver SI’s journalism to every platform audiences want. Our storytelling, analysis, and the unique insights and personalities of our writers and editors are tailor-made for audio. The shows that SI develops and distributes in partnership with iHeart will be an essential and habit-forming part of the smart sports fan’s media experience.
The Sports Illustrated podcast slate will be distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network which is home to more than 750 original podcasts with over 250 million downloads each month.
iHeartMedia is the №1 publisher of podcasts in the world.