Sports Illustrated Prepares to Enter the Hotel Business

April 12, 2022, 11:24 AM · Another long-time media brand is getting into the themed resort business. But this time, it isn’t a movie studio, video game, or TV network.

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

“We’re honored to be a part of bringing our team’s concepts for this resort to life,” Storyland Studios Founder & Chief Creative Officer Mel McGowan said. “Sports Illustrated is known worldwide for its enduring influence in the sports world. Transforming the brand from page to themed environment, then inviting sports enthusiasts, families, and adults of all ages to immerse themselves in that space, is going to be an incredibly exciting journey.”
The resorts promise “active, participatory visitor attractions, high-quality dining, lifestyle and wellness experiences, and celebrating some of the most iconic moments and athletes in sports history,” according to Storyland’s press release.

The pool at Sports Illustrated’s hotel. Concept art courtesy Storyland Studios

The first SI hotel resort will open next year in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. A resort in Orlando is slated to follow after that. Other locations in the United States, including Hawaii, are being considered for additional resorts.

Overview of the hotel. Concept art courtesy Storyland Studios

Sports Illustrated began publishing in 1954, becoming the authoritative voice of sports journalism for a generation of fans. Like many magazines, SI struggled with the transition to online publishing, but Sports Illustrated retained strong brand value, largely driven by its annual swimsuit issue. Today, Sports Illustrated reaches more than 70 million consumers a year, according to the company.

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Replies (7)

April 12, 2022 at 12:15 PM

No thanks, not since SI went woke.

April 12, 2022 at 12:45 PM

SI is a dying brand. This move reeks of desperation to capitalize on any remaining cache SI still holds with the AARP crowd.

I don't quite understand what the SI brand brings to the hotel/resort industry, but I guess if a gaggle of venture capitalists want to fling money around to relive their college years, more power to them. I certainly would not pay a premium to stay at a resort just because it has a bunch of old magazine covers on the wall.

April 12, 2022 at 2:09 PM

The shame of SI is even a few years ago, still doing great with millions of subscribers and such, then new management decided to cut guys,go monthly and "data farm" stuff rather than concentrate on good sportswriting. This just strike the same idea of "we're a brand" rather than a sports mag people wanted to read.

April 12, 2022 at 3:34 PM

Getting Hard Rock vibes here. Don’t see the Millennial/GenZ appeal at all. But if it’s a good resort, it will succeed, though not for the brand name.

April 12, 2022 at 6:43 PM

venture capital going to venture capital. I feel for whoever is left at sports illustrated, because it's certainly few of the good folks I knew even a few years ago.

April 12, 2022 at 10:49 PM

I'm still hurting at Entertainment Weekly ending print when they could have kept going but bosses decided better first monthly, then just ending. All because some folks prefer a "brand" over an actual publication.

April 15, 2022 at 7:26 AM

Snider what does woke mean ?

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