Time Inc. is taking its Sports Illustrated (SI) brand further into the multi-platform world via a partnership with Hong Kong-based broadcaster ASN.
Under the deal, the media co will develop a sports-focused linear and digital network, and will see ASN’s English-language channels ASN and ASN2, along with their companion websites and mobile apps, rebranded to Sports Illustrated and Sports Illustrated 2. The networks are expected to debut across Asia this spring.
The partners will also collaborate on daily programming development, coverage of global sporting events and the expansion of worldwide distribution across linear networks, SVOD, and digital and mobile platforms.
The new networks will feature a mix of event coverage and original programming from SI Group brands including SI, SI Kids and FanSided, packaged with live and — in some markets — exclusive broadcasts of major sports leagues and events, such as the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup finals and college basketball’s March Madness.
SI’s video franchises, including the award-winning Underdogs series, will also be repurposed for the networks, along with local adaptations of regional stories.
Rich Battista, Time’s EVP and president of entertainment, sports group and video, said in a statement that the deal highlights Asia’s growing appetite for global sports coverage and “exploding” business growth opportunities in the world’s most populous region.
“There is tremendous potential for Sports Illustrated to flourish as a global sports brand,” he added.
Sports Illustrated is already a familiar brand in parts of Asia, with licensed local print and web editions in China and India. The deal with ASN extends that reach, with operations across the region, including Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
It follows moves by Time to broaden SI’s appeal to millennial sports fans through various new products and platforms. They include FanSided, a millennial-focused digital sports network of more than 300 blogs; Campus Rush, a new content vertical devoted to culture and lifesytle of college sports; and Sports Illustrated Overtime, a new branded content studio.