Sports Illustrated

Hoping to find a new revenue stream, Time Inc. is set to launch Sports Illustrated TV. It will be a subscription-based, over the top streaming service that will be available on Amazon Channels. The monthly cost will be $4.99, and the channel launches on November 16.

It will have 130 hours of movies and original documentaries, including the first five Rocky movies, The Bad News Bears, and North Dallas Forty.

The streaming service will not have live sports, nor will it have any sports news or highlights. Variety reports that the service will have various talk programs.

In addition, Sports Illustrated TV will have original sports documentaries as well as various docu-series. Mike Tollin of Mandalay Sports Media (director and producer of several 30 for 30 films) and Jonathan Hock have signed deals to produce sports documentaries for Sports Illustrated TV.

Rather than spending money on live sports or highlights rights, Sports Illustrated TV will spend time on storytelling.

Time Inc. CEO Rich Battista positioned the SVOD channel’s focus on programming about the culture of sports as differentiating it in the field. “Sports Illustrated TV is a new home for sports lovers who want to go beyond sports highlights and heated debates with distinctive, immersive and entertaining original programming curated through the trusted Sports Illustrated lens,” he said.

Here are some of the regular programs that will be showcased on Sports Illustrated TV:

  • “The Vault”: The program revisits some of the biggest stories that have been covered by the magazine dating back to its inception in 1954.
  • “SI: Under the Cover”: This will feature interviews with current high-profile athletes.
  • “The Crossover”: A basketball lifestyle show featuring engaging discussion about the players, games, culture, fashion and memes. Hosted by writers Matt Dollinger and Rohan Nadkarni.
  • “Planet Futbol”: Hosted by SI soccer maven Grant Wahl, the show looks at soccer around the world with guests from Europe and the Americas.
  • “The Line” (working title): This show will focus on sports betting and fantasy sports.

Some of the movies that will appear on Sports Illustrated TV include:

  • Rocky (1–5)
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Kickboxer (1–5)
  • Bad News Bears (1975)
  • Eight Men Out
  • Rollerball (1975)
  • North Dallas Forty

Will the content be worth it for consumers to make Sports Illustated TV a viable over the top subscription service? It does have one ally in Amazon Channels, part of Amazon Video which was listed as number two in the top ten over-the-top subscription services in the third quarter.

However, paying $4.99/month on top of what is paid for Amazon Prime/Amazon Video could be a lot to ask of potential subscribers, especially given the relative lack of content with SI TV. We’ll see if this gains any traction, or simply fades into the background.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.