The new alliance will center on a re-branding of the Pan Asian, English-language ASN and ASN2 pay TV sports channels, companion websites and mobile apps as Sports Illustrated/Sports Illustrated 2, launching in the spring.
As part of the deal, Time Inc. and ASN will also collaborate on development of daily programming, coverage of global sporting events and expansion of worldwide distribution across linear networks, SVOD, OTT, digital, mobile and emerging platforms.
Time Inc. will provide the infrastructure technology for the networks’ websites and mobile apps, and the two companies will work to cultivate new marketing and advertising sales opportunities.
“This groundbreaking partnership speaks to the power of all our brands — in this case Sports Illustrated — and enables us to build a significant international presence across new platforms,” said Steve Marcopoto, president of Time Inc. International, in a statement. “Our partners at ASN have built a strong foundation, and together we look forward to creating a differentiated and compelling sports network in the most populous region in the world.”
The new Sports Illustrated/Sports Illustrated 2 networks will feature a mix of event coverage and original video programming from SI Group brands (SI, SI Kids and FanSided), along with live (and, in some markets, exclusive) broadcasts of popular sports leagues and events, including the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup finals and March Madness. The network will also feature popular series such as “Underdogs” and content from Sports Illustrated Films, as well as local adaptations of SI franchises.
Launched in 2008, ASN was the region’s first 24/7 Pan-Asian HD sports network featuring live US sports content. Its two English-language channels, ASN and ASN2 reach, 29 million homes via 20 loperators in 12 territories, including Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The networks content partnerships include rights deals for the NFL, NHL, NCAA football and basketball, March Madness and NASCAR.
The ASN partnership is the latest in a string of initiatives designed to bring the Sports Illustrated brand to millennial sports fans across their preferred platforms and devices. They include the formation of Sports Illustrated Play, a new business devoted to youth and amateur sports; the acquisition of FanSided, a millennials-focused digital sports network of 300-plus blogs; the creation of the Sports Illustrated Films production unit, Campus Rush, devoted to the culture and lifestyle of college sports; and Sports Illustrated Overtime, a new branded content studio.