Sports Illustrated goes with iHeartMedia for multi-year content deal and boutique production studio

iHeartMedia has announced a multi-year deal with Sports Illustrated that the network calls “robust”; it includes original podcast production and the formation of Sports Illustrated Studios. iHeartPodcast Network will distribute the new shows, naturally, as well as SI’s existing portfolio.

Additionally, iHeart says, “Mutual marketing and promotion commitments will apply to all joint projects.” The new shows will start appearing in Q1 2022, according to the press release — which sounds to us like meaty productions are being conceived. (At least one of them will be a true crime show involving a college football player accused and convicted of murder.)

In addition to the overall timeline, at least one new show, Sports Illustrated Weekly, is on a schedule to drop later this year.

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. It’ll be a weekly podcast that will feature the best of Sports Illustrated’s journalism in an audio magazine format. Episodes will be 45 minutes  long.

“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. “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.”

“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 & Maven. Today, Sports Illustrated reaches more than 50M monthly visitors across all integrated site channels.


Brad Hill