“Wow. This should be a movie.”
Over the decades we’ve heard that kind of thing a lot at Sports Illustrated. We hear it from readers captivated by the latest piece of absorbing, inspiring, moving and thought-provoking storytelling in the magazine or on SI.com. From listeners who can’t wait to download the next episode of a deep-dive SI podcast. From writers and editors passionately pitching an idea for the next entry into the Sports Illustrated canon of classics. From documentary producers and feature filmmakers who see the multiplatform potential both in the work we do today and in the vast SI archive that dates back to 1954.
With a few exceptions, those movie wishes have usually been little more than cinematic daydreaming. That all changes today with the launch of Sports Illustrated Studios, a new joint venture between SI’s parent company, Authentic Brands Group, and global entertainment production house 101 Studios. SI Studios will be the exclusive vehicle to develop, produce and distribute long-form film, television and audio content based on the work and ideas that SI features in print and online.
“SI has been home to the greatest stories in the sports world, told by some of the greatest writers anywhere,” says David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios. “It’s thrilling to be able to take those stories past, present and future and bring them to life in all formats.”
The goal of SI Studios is simple: to do in video and audio form what we’ve long done with words and pictures. That is, bring you the best, deepest, most immersive storytelling in sports. Drama, passion, humor and heartbreak—they’re the things that make us love sports in the first place. And, since 1954, they’ve been at the core of SI at its best.
The first project to be announced is a docuseries entitled “Covers.” Based on Sports Illustrated’s top cover stories and subjects of all time, each episode will chronicle iconic moments in sports history. The series will bring these covers to life -- the athletes, the moments, the history -- while also giving viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what went into creating each of them.
At SI, we’ve long been growing beyond our print-only roots, and SI Studios represents our most ambitious effort yet to reach new audiences in new ways. SI Studios will be home to feature films, documentaries, scripted and reality TV, miniseries and scripted podcasts, with an ambitious slate of television series and feature films planned per year. Projects will be developed through creative collaboration with SI’s writers and editors.
“We’re beyond excited that this is a true joint venture between ABG and 101 Studios,” says Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and CEO of ABG. “101 is a top-to-bottom studio operation with the infrastructure to develop, finance, distribute and market projects worthy of the SI brand. This is what we’ve had in mind since we bought the SI brand nearly a year ago.”
In some ways, the launch of SI Studios doesn’t change much here at SI. We’ll keep on telling stories that you can’t find anywhere else, the kind of narrative journalism that, now more than ever, stands out in the sports media maelstrom.
At the same time, everything has changed. We will tell new stories in fresh ways, breathe new life into past successes, and build new connections with the audiences whose loyalty and passion guide everything we do. In that spirit, we’d love to hear from you—which of your SI favorites would you love to see brought to the screen? What new ideas should we explore?
In other words, we’re thrilled to have you with us for this next giant leap in the evolution of Sports Illustrated. Thanks for reading—and now, thanks for watching and listening. We’re building it, and we know you’ll come.
Sounds like something you might hear in a movie.