'Sports Illustrated' Owner Maven Scoops Up $45M In Q4 Revs, Print Changes Coming

Maven, the owner of Sports Illustrated and TheStreet, says it earned more than $45 million of revenues in Q4, in an SEC filing made Tuesday.

Maven said Sports Illustrated had 29 million unique visitors in December 2019, up from 27 million compared to the previous year — a 7.4% increase. SI.com also saw a 300% page-load speed improvement after moving to Maven’s platform in October, according to the company.

Last year, Sports Illustrated was acquired by Authentic Brands Group from Meredith for $110 million. In June, ABG licensed the media operations to Maven, an ad platform-media company.



The company let go of about 40 staffers and hired 200 contractors to increase Sports Illustrated's local sports coverage. Maven says that new team brought 5.6 million unique users to the brand in December.

“Financial and digital metrics improved quickly and materially for Sports Illustrated, in particular, after Maven replaced SI’s senior management team and implemented dramatic changes in editorial strategy for both print and digital, tech platform, sales approach, print format, video strategy, headcount and expense discipline,” the company stated.

Maven eliminated SI’s “print-news” department and its long-form video strategy, “which had been suffering significant financial losses.”

“We are pleased by the positive results,” Maven founder James Heckman stated. “Similar to our 2018 restructuring initiatives, we quickly forced many difficult, and sometimes traumatic changes, which we deemed necessary to transition SI’s business back to a trusted and growing heritage brand."

The company anticipates that in 2020, it will have more than $27 million in operational savings at Sports Illustrated, compared to 2018, with “significant changes” made to the brand's print product. 

The changes will affect “print frequency and circulation,” while "improving the size, weight and quality of the magazine, whose first issue under its new format will launch in February."

Sports Illustrated employees announced their intention to unionize earlier this week.

The NewsGuild of New York union represents about 80 staffers in print, digital and video, CNN reports.

“Maven's directive to launch a network of team reporters on SI's platforms without sufficient vetting or editorial oversight has already resulted in errors that severely undermine our credibility,” the union stated.

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