Wondering who owns Sports Illustrated Magazine? Here’s a breakdown of the magazine’s ownership history.
Checkout this video:
Sports Illustrated is an American sports magazine owned by Meredith Corporation. It was first published in August 1954 and has a circulation of over 3 million. The magazine covers the major sports events of the year and is published weekly.
History of Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated magazine was founded in 1954 by Time Inc. It was created to fill a void in the sports news industry- there was no sports magazine at the time. The magazine has changed hands a few times over the years, most recently in June 2017 when Meredith Corporation bought it from Time Inc.
The first issue of Sports Illustrated was published on August 16, 1954. On the cover was Milwaukee Braves star Eddie Mathews at bat, with the headline “A Nation of Sports Fans.” The magazine was originally published fortnightly, then weekly, before settling into its current biweekly frequency in the 1960s.
In 1963,SI became the first weekly sports magazine to offer color photos on its cover when Walter Iooss Jr. photographed Yelberton Abraham Tittle in his New York Giants uniform for the Sept. 9 issue.
The Time Inc. Merger
In 1968, Sports Illustrated was acquired by Time Inc. In turn, 76 percent of the stock was offered to the public at $5.50 per share on the New York Stock Exchange. That offering increased Time’s stake in the company to 94 percent, and Par areas became a subsidiary of Time Inc. si.com, the website for Sports Illustrated, was launched in 1995 and is now one of the most popular sports sites on the Internet.
Current Ownership Structure
The current owner of Sports Illustrated is Meredith Corporation. The magazine was previously owned by Time Inc., which was acquired by Meredith in 2018. Meredith is a publicly traded company that owns a number of other media properties in addition to Sports Illustrated.
Meredith Corporation is an American media conglomerate based in Des Moines, Iowa. The company owns magazines, television stations, websites, and radio stations. Meredith’s holdings include more than 200 television stations and 1,000 print properties. The company is the largest magazine publisher in the United States since 2005, when it became the successor company to Time Inc.
Meredith Corporation was founded in 1902 by Edwin Thomas Meredith, who had previously served as the United States Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland. Meredith began publishing Farm Journal in 1902 and Fruit, Garden and Home magazine in 1922. In 1924, Meredith acquired Modern Bride magazine followed by Better Homes and Gardens in 1934.
Throughout the 1930s to 1950s, Meredith began to expand its business outside of agricultural publications. In 1941, they published the first Ladies’ Home Companion; a women’s service magazine which soon became one of their most popular titles. In 1945 they purchased Woodward & Lothrop department store chain followed by Marshall Field’s in 1959. Meredith continued to grow through acquisitions throughout the 1960s to 1980s purchasing publishers such as Family Circle magazine (1961), McCall’s (1971), Child (1987), with their largest being Magazine Management Company in 1985 for $873 million dollars; adding titles such as Shape (1981) and Complete Woman (1989) to their portfolio
The Private Equity Firm
Sports Illustrated is currently owned by Authentic Brands Group, a private equity firm that specializes in owning and managing iconic brands. Prior to being acquired by ABG, Sports Illustrated was owned by Meredith Corporation, a publicly traded company that also owns other popular magazines like People and Martha Stewart Living.
It was announced in May 2020 that Meredith Corporation would be selling Sports Illustrated to Authentic Brands Group for $110 million. This would mean that ABG would be the owner of the magazine, as well as the licensing rights to the name and brand.