By Sahil Patel
120 Sports is a new video startup that wants to build a 24-hour online sports network — with the help of almost all of the major sports leagues in the United States. (The NFL, as you’ll see, is the lone holdout among the “big four.”)
Unveiled today, 120 Sports, which is backed by Time Inc., Chicago-based sports digital media company Silver Chalice, and MLB Advanced Media, has partnerships in place with the NHL, NBA, MLB.com, and NASCAR to produce original, live sports content tied to each league. While the deal (obviously) doesn’t include the ability to stream live games and races, 120 Sports, which will debut later in the spring, will offer an array of original sports-related content featuring game footage and expert analysis. Content on the network will also spotlight conversation and social commentary from players, relevant “newsmakers,” and fans.
Multiple college conferences are also involved as content partners via Campus Insiders, a joint venture between IMG College and Silver Chalice.
Silver Chalice is overseeing production and business operations for 120 Sports, which will have production headquarters and talent based in Chicago.
With Time Inc. being one of the other investors, the company will look to incorporate its sports-media outlet Sports Illustrated into the video content.
“120 Sports is an innovative, addictive product that will give sports fans an amazing amount of always-on sports content and great technology so they can engage with news and highlights wherever they are,” said Todd Larsen, Time Inc. EVP in a statement. “The product will offer Sports Illustrated fans a terrific complement to our editorial coverage, and as a business partner Time Inc. will have a stake in an enterprise with tremendous promise.”
Silver Chalice and Sports Illustrated’s national sales organizations will be responsible for all sales and marketing for the network, while SI and Time will also look to provide additional “operational and business development support.”
MLB Advanced Media is handling technical development and operations for all 120 Sports platforms, which will be available online as well as mobile and connected-TV devices via native apps. 120 Sports will initially be available for free, though there are plans to introduce a “premium offering” at a later date.
Something to remember: Time Inc. is holding a Digital Content Newfront this year, taking place later in the spring. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about 120 Sports in advance of and during that event.