A few weeks ago, I wrote about the evolution at Sports Illustrated, and how it is placing an emphasis on growing SI.com. Here’s a major step.
Next Monday, SI.com will debut a new daily 30-minute sports talk show, airing at 1 p.m. ET. Hosted by Maggie Gray, it will feature interviews and reports from Sports Illustrated reporters and with top sports personalities. In mid-June, the show will originate live from the U.S. Open at Merion outside of Philadelphia.
It makes sense for SI. It already has several writers with strong TV ties (Peter King, Tom Verducci). Why not feature them on its own platform?
Here’s the official release from SI:
On Monday, June 3, Sports Illustrated will debut SI Now Powered by Ford, a new live, 30-minute daily talk show broadcast on SI.com, weekdays at 1:00 p.m. ET. SI is the first Time Inc. title to produce a regular, live video series, placing it among only a handful of media brands offering original daily streaming content.
“Our writers and anchors are the brightest in the sports world, and this live show gives them an important new way to interact with sports fans in real time,” said Matt Bean, managing editor of SI.com. “SI Now is a revolution in how we create and deliver video to our audience. It is the next phase in SI.com’s content evolution.”
Hosted by SI’s Maggie Gray, SI Now Powered by Ford will deliver commentary, analysis and social interaction with SI writers/editors, newsmakers and special guests. The show will also travel to the biggest events in sports. For example, during the week of June 10 SI Now will be on location at the U.S. Open in Ardmore, PA. During those shows SI, and its Time Inc. Sports Group partner Golf Magazine, will deliver feature interviews and analysis from a team of award winning writers covering the tournament.
“Our goal is for SI Now to deliver what SI does best — thoughtful conversation and commentary around the biggest stories in sports,” said Ian Orefice, Time Inc. news and sports executive producer. “Since launching SI Video in 2010, we’ve built tremendous momentum with increased viewership and critical acclaim for our original productions. Now with the addition of the production facility, we can deliver exponentially more video across the site and throughout the spectrum of digital, mobile and broadcast distribution channels.”
Since launching in 2010, the SI Digital Video unit has increased the volume of SI.com video offerings to a current pace of about 50 original videos each week. One of the most successful has been the 2012 original web series Underdogs, which captured an EPPY Award for Best Sports Video from Editor & Publisher, a Cynopsis Sports Media Award for Best Webisode Series and recognition from the Webby Awards Best Editing (video) category.
Recently, the video unit produced a slew of live broadcast specials for SI.com including SI Swimsuit Live 2013 a one-hour red carpet special hosted by Bean and Swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen, which was simulcast across People.com, EW.com, YouTube and Daily Motion. Also airing live were 30-minute previews of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the 2013 NFL draft.
Gray became SI’s first digital sports anchor in 2010 and has since conducted interviews with the most influential names in sports about the top stories in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college football, college basketball, NASCAR, horse racing and Olympic sports. Her recent interview with a panel of WNBA draft picks drew worldwide attention as eventual No. 1 draft pick Brittney Griner candidly discussed being a gay female athlete.
A recent IAB study demonstrates that the demand for online video content is growing among SI’s core audience, with more than 45 million U.S. viewers a month consuming original professional online video and almost a quarter of men in the U.S. (24%) watching. Additionally, a fifth of men 18 to 34 watch original professional online video at work. *