The Sports Illustrated brand has already been licensed for plenty of questionably appealing ventures.
Who could forget the JC Penney clothing launch? The summer line is out now!
SI still has plenty of people doing great work, to be clear. But the way their corporate parents toss out the name for licensing purposes at every possible opportunity is impressively craven. The most recent example feels like the most likely to fail yet: Sports Illustrated hotels and resorts.
This isn’t just, say, a themed hotel or pop-up boutique stunt, like the Taco Bell venture in Palm Springs. These would be fully-realized, permanent resorts, all built with a vague sports-related vibe and splashed with SI branding.
That’s from a Storyland Studios press release:
Renowned international experience design and production studio Storyland Studios has been selected to master plan and design the latest addition to the world of immersive experiences: Sports Illustrated Hotels and Resorts, which are set to begin rolling out worldwide as early as 2023.
These new destinations will feature a variety of engaging, entertaining attractions for visitors and sports enthusiasts of all ages. Storyland’s team, made up of experience-design experts and veterans of the themed attractions industry, will lend its three-dimensional approach to storytelling to the project.
“Storyland is thrilled to begin the design and master planning processes for the global family of Sports Illustrated resorts,” said Ben Thompson, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Clients at Storyland Studios. “Our incredibly talented and diverse team of artists and artisans is well-equipped to deliver unforgettable experiences for guests of all ages and backgrounds.”
As always, the question must be asked: who are these for? Even on the scale of tacky-ish resort stays, is there a real clamoring for somewhere you can go that might have a go-kart track? And these are very, very real design concepts! One is coming to the Dominican Republic! There’s one planned for Orlando, too, which is impossibly unsurprising.
The first Sports Illustrated resort location is anticipated to be in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with an expected unveiling date in 2023. The Orlando resort will follow. Other possible locations in the United States and Hawaii are under consideration.
Here’s the only way this might make sense: families where one partner is more excited about traveling than the other, but the one who isn’t excited likes sports. “See, we can stay here! There’s sports!” There’s also the element of just being an open resort in a desirable destination. Inventory is key; people will always need somewhere to stay.
But it remains absolutely silly that there’s probably going to be big massive complexes with Sports Illustrated branding and attractions. Let’s hope no one gets hurt on the Life of Reilly Log Ride.