A new platform for Virginians
A Sports Illustrated-branded online sportsbook is now up and running in Virginia. Online gambling giant 888 Holdings is powering the offering, which is the second SI sportsbook to go live in the US. People in Virginia can now access the new platform and start placing bets.
888 has entered into a partnership with Virtual Entertainment Partners
As part of the launch in Virginia, 888 has entered into a partnership with Virtual Entertainment Partners (VEP), a small, woman-owned, and minority-owned (SWaM) Virginia-based company. The two parties will work together to help the local communities in the state, particularly minority communities. The goal is to increase diversity and opportunities in Virginia.
Building on the existing offering
Speaking about the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook launch in Virginia, 888 US president Howard Mittman said: “Following the success of its debut launch in Colorado last September, this is an important milestone for both ourselves and our partners.”
He believes that the passionate base of sports fans in Virginia will mean that the state will be a key driver for the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook brand going forward. The latest launch is part of the operator’s US expansion plans and its ultimate goal of becoming a leader in the worldwide betting and gaming spaces.
The only other state that has a Sports Illustrated sportsbook is Colorado. It went live in September 2021 and there are plans for launches in other states over the next few months. The relationship between 888 and the well-known sports media company started in June 2021 when they signed a commercial partnership. The operator is hoping to carve out a 5% market share in each state in which it launches.
Transforming the Sports Illustrated brand
It was not long ago that Sports Illustrated was in a very tricky position. Subscriber numbers were dropping significantly and it ended up significantly cutting down on the number of issues it publishes. People were moving away from print media and favoring social and digital content.
now a monthly publication after having been a weekly magazine for decades
Authentic Brands Group ended up buying the Sports Illustrated brand intellectual property (IP) in May 2019 for $110m. Since then, the brand has undergone a significant transformation, now a monthly publication after having been a weekly magazine for decades. It has launched a sports event ticketing platform, as well as a new ecommerce marketplace.
The launch of the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook is also a part of the new, bolder strategy. There are even plans to get into the tourism and hospitality spaces through SI Resorts and a new clothing line is in the works. It certainly is a wide-ranging approach; other stalwarts in the print media industry are likely watching closely.