Maven (MVEN) announced today that Sports Illustrated’s January digital audience results saw rapid growth across nearly half a dozen key indicators, according to Google Analytics. Unique users at SI.com increased 36% compared to January 2019, reaching more than 34 million unique users across its domain and Apple news partnership. Sessions grew 41% year over year to more than 60 million, its highest point in years.
Since Maven assumed operating control in October 2019, Sports Illustrated has launched more than 90 local team channels, which now reach nearly 10 million users and have created new roles for professional journalists nationwide. Those destinations grew by 80% from December to January. Video views across SI.com increased nearly 8x in the same period, thanks to an increased focus by the editorial team and the debut of a bi-coastal, real-time breaking news desk. This operation features the national voices synonymous with Sports Illustrated and the perspectives of local on-the-ground reporters in each team market.
January also featured the launch of the reimagined print experience, with Sports Illustrated’s Super Bowl issue. The magazine featured a special cover spread showcasing the nine living Super Bowl MVPs from games in Miami. Highlighted stories include an in-depth look at gambling inside Sing Sing prison; the emergence of the newest Manning — Arch, the grandson of Archie and nephew of Eli and Peyton, and a deep dive into a Super Bowl “box pool” gone wrong.
“The evolution and growth of Sports Illustrated’s digital experience and the reimagination of the print product have helped kick off the transformation of the most trusted brand name in sports,” said Ross Levinsohn, CEO of Sports Illustrated media. “Our digital growth, driven by deep local team coverage, video, and breaking news, makes this one of the fastest-growing brands at scale in the industry.”
The growth and evolution of Sports Illustrated continue under Maven initiatives. The consumer experience has dramatically improved, thanks to a technical overhaul that increased page load speeds by 300%. The average time on page increased by 48%, as users are more engaged. By March, they will experience a refreshed desktop and mobile experience as the first phase of a consumer experience overhaul for the Sports Illustrated digital brand.
Maven also announced today that Sports Illustrated will publish a special commemorative issue in February, celebrating the life of basketball great Kobe Bryant, who died last week in a helicopter crash, along with his daughter and seven others. He had appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated over 16 times. The special issue will feature articles, photos, and experiences from an array of stars remembering the iconic superstar, in the way only Sports Illustrated can. The issue will be available beginning February 5 on newsstands in Los Angeles and his hometown of Philadelphia, as well as online at SI.com.
About Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an award-winning media enterprise and cultural touchstone that captures moments in sports and turns them into history. Offering the most relevant and innovative content in real-time, SI is the authoritative voice of the sports world and the source that connects audiences to athletes and teams across every touchpoint spanning entertainment, editorial, and digital platforms to live events and brand extensions. The Sports Illustrated network includes the iconic Magazine and SI Kids and marquee franchises Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Sportsperson of the Year, and Fashionable 50.
Maven (maven.io) is a coalition of Mavens, from individual thought leaders to world-leading independent publishers, operating on a shared digital publishing, monetization, and distribution platform, unified under a single media brand. Sports Illustrated is operated by Maven as part of its coalition. Based in Seattle, Maven is publicly traded under the ticker symbol MVEN.
Media Inquiries: Greg Witter, Press@maven.io