After Sports Illustrated agreed to a nine-figure deal, it turns out its most coveted asset may have been its brand.
The New York Times reports that the magazine sold its intellectual property to Authentic Brands Group for $110 million in an unusual deal.
“The previous owner, Meredith, and the buyer, Authentic Brands Group, announced the completed sale Monday night,” The Times reports. “Under its terms, Meredith will continue to run Sports Illustrated’s biweekly magazine and website, paying Authentic Brands an undisclosed licensing fee for at least two years.”
The Times adds: “What Authentic Brands immediately bought was not the magazine itself but rather Sports Illustrated’s valuable intellectual property. The purchase covers the magazine’s trove of more than two million images, its swimsuit and Sportsperson of the Year brands, the instantly recognizable name itself and other assets.”
Authentic Brands is a licensing company that also owns the brands of celebrities including Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. The company indicated it expects to make money off its properties through live events, e-sports and sports gambling, among other things.
“As a trailblazer and cultural phenomenon, Sports Illustrated has created moments and experiences for its readers that are unmatched by any other sports brand,” Nick Woodhouse, president and chief marketing officer of Authentic Brands, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Meredith to extend Sports Illustrated’s legacy and connect the brand with new audiences around the world.”