According to reporting by Ryan Butler, 888 Holdings and Sports Illustrated will debut their joint sportsbook in Colorado in September. The partners reportedly have plans to roll the sportsbook out in three additional states later.
In a departure from their traditional role as a sports journalism brand, Sports Illustrated will incorporate betting odds into their website at SI.com, and also offer free-to-play games.
Sports Illustrated and 888 announced their partnership in June of this year, with an intention to penetrate sports betting markets with a sportsbook. According to a report from Sports Illustrated at that time, the product will be called SI Sportsbook. SI will reportedly deliver sports news, analysis, and betting information in their sportsbook app before the start of the NFL and college football seasons. The news reported today aligns with that goal.
According to Butler, following a debut in Colorado, SI Sportsbook will launch in Indiana, Iowa, and New Jersey at a later date.
Faced with competition from subscription-free sites in recent years, Sports Illustrated has experienced a decline in subscriptions. As a result they laid off more than one-quarter of their workforce between 2018 and 2020, and the formerly weekly magazine changed to monthly. In February the company announced that they would put some of their premium content behind a paywall. The deal with 888 is expected to give SI more revenue and strengthen their once ironclad brand.
Per the Colorado Department of Revenue, there are more than a dozen legal sportsbooks operating in Colorado. The addition of SI Sportsbook, backed by the gaming platform of 888 Holdings, will add another option for sports fans in the state. Sports betting was legalized in Colorado in 2019, following a ruling the previous year by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down laws prohibiting the practice at the state level.