Sports Illustrated announced a new partnership with golf media company Morning Read, which will see Morning Read provide a variety of digital content for SI’s online operation.
In 2017, Time Inc. sold Golf Magazine and the accompanying Golf.com URL, which had been the de facto golf arm of SI. In the Maven era, obviously, Sports Illustrated has changed quite a bit, with less of an in-house emphasis on original content and reporting. The partnership with Morning Read is a bit of an outsourcing in that regard; Morning Read offers a few newsletters and other written and video content, focused on travel and equipment as much as the professional game.
From the partnership announcement:
We’re thrilled to announce a new editorial partnership with Sports Illustrated, and its website, SI.com. Starting today, all new content produced by Morning Read’s staff and talented roster of contributors — our columns, our podcasts, our videos, our features — will appear at our new online home, SI.com/golf.
To say it another way: Morning Read is now the golf page for SI.com. The Morning Read archive will continue to reside on Morningread.com until a full migration later this summer, and once completed, you’ll find all of our work, past and present, on SI.com. We’re excited to continue offering unparalleled golf coverage to our existing readers and to showcase our work to a new audience.
In a way, the move fits with how Maven has handled the SI brand, especially digitally. John Ourand had more on SI’s strategy at Sports Business Journal:
“Morning Read brings a built-in team of experienced golf journalists, a built-in audience and some built-in products,” Cannella said. “They are doing a lot of things that we feel we can tap into.”
Sports Illustrated has had its share of struggles since Maven, a digital media company, took control of it in the spring of 2019. Slowly, its strategy is starting to take shape. Earlier this year, it rolled out a metered paywall. Last week’s purchase of The Spun and this week’s partnership with Morning Read mark the start of a trend, Cannella said.
“We’re going to look at other sports that we want to grow around,” he said. “Think about SI’s core audience and the sports that have long been affiliated with SI’s ecosystem: the NFL, college sports, baseball, NBA and golf. Now we’ve got the golf part of that building up in a big way right now.”
Morning Read’s content is already live on SI.com/golf, if you’re interested.