Sports Illustrated prepares to enter the hospitality industry

April 12, 2022, 11:24 a.m. · Another long-standing media brand is getting into the themed resort business. But this time it’s not a movie studio, video game or TV channel.

Sports Illustrated stands out from magazines and publishing and lends its name and spirit to a new line of resort hotels. California-based Storyland Studios will plan and design the immersive experiences, which will be called Sports Illustrated Hotels and Resorts.

“We are honored to help bring our team’s concepts to life for this resort,” said Storyland Studios Founder and Chief Creative Officer Mel McGowan. “Sports Illustrated is known around the world for its lasting influence in the sports world. Transforming the brand from a page to a themed environment, then inviting sports fans, families and adults of all ages to immerse themselves in this space, is going to be an incredibly exciting journey.

The resorts promise “active and participatory tourist attractions, high-quality dining, lifestyle and wellness experiences, and the celebration of some of the most iconic moments and athletes in sports history,” according to the Storyland press release.

The Sports Illustrated hotel pool. Concept art courtesy of Storyland Studios

The first SI resort will open next year in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. A resort in Orlando should follow after that. Other locations in the United States, including Hawaii, are under consideration for additional stations. Authentic Brands Group, owner of Sports Illustrated, will partner with Experiential Ventures Hospitality LLC and ADMI Inc. to develop and launch a number of Sports Illustrated premium resort destinations.

Sports Illustrated began publishing in 1954, becoming the authoritative voice of sports journalism for a generation of fans. Like many magazines, SI struggled to move to online publishing, but Sports Illustrated retained strong brand equity, thanks in large part to its annual swimwear issue. Today, Sports Illustrated reaches more than 70 million consumers a year, according to the company.

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