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Sports Illustrated Aims for the Fences with New NBC Sports Show

Sports Illustrated’s new show, an hour-long program of the same title, will premiere on the NBC Sports Network on July 24.

The Sports Illustrated show will first be shown three days before the beginning of the Olympics, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Keach Hagey.

This is not the magazine’s first foray into TV —  from 1996 to 2002, it had a show on CNN, which “never gained widespread distribution,” says Hagey. The magazine is owned by Time Warner.

In an interview with the Journal, the president of Time Inc. Sports Group Mark Ford said, “It’s really essential for us that consumers don’t only think of us as a magazine, but as a sports media company.”

On the weeks that the show airs, the magazine will produce stories centered around similar topics that appear on the show, according to Mashable.

Sports Illustrated isn’t the first sports news outlet that is expanding this summer. At the end of June, CBS announced that it would be offering nationwide sports coverage on the radio to directly compete with ESPN.

According to Hagey, ad money for the magazine was down 5 percent in the last half of 2011, and the company faced layoffs. The extra revenue from NBC’s advertising could help build the magazine back up again, since the highly profitable TV ad business is fueled in large part by sports programming.

Sports Illustrated is following recent moves by Huffington Post and HGTV  in expanding into different channels of content.

Lexus will sponsor the program as part of an ongoing relationship with Sports Illustrated. Lexus has already purchased advertising across Sports Illustrated’s publishing platforms, including the magazine and its tablet edition along with the new television program.

Ford said he expects the television program will help grow the business, and the sports storytelling that Sports Illustrated crafts will expand nicely to the new format.

“This programming fits incredibly well with our rich history of storytelling, and partnering with Sports Illustrated for this show adds even more quality programming to NBC Sports Group’s growing portfolio,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network.

Reb Carlson contributed to this article.

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