One of the biggest names in sports journalism is rolling out a new streaming video service. Sports Illustrated made the announcement today that they’ll debut an OTT service this fall (if you’re not familiar with the term, OTT stands for “over the top,” and refers to content streamed over the internet without a cable or satellite system).
The service doesn’t have a name yet, but is expected later this year. It’s worth noting that no live sports coverage is planned, but there will be plenty of live studio shows, coverage before and after games, on demand content, documentaries, fantasy sports content, and of course, swimsuit content. More than 50 hours of on demand content is promised from day one.
On air hosts will be some of the company’s most famous faces like Tom Verducci, Peter King, Grant Wahl, and Seth Davis.
With sports leagues taking content straight to the consumer more than ever before and with ESPN making major cutbacks, now is the perfect time for SI to enter this space. Ian Orefice, the company’s vice president and head of programming, echoed that sentiment, saying, “This is the time to go where people are consuming content. But if you get in that [OTT] space, do you have the power to differentiate and extend to long-form storytelling? ” He believes SI does.
Time Inc. has already found success with one OTT service, People Entertainment Weekly Network, which has been downloaded over 1.6 million times. The company says they learned a lot with that service they can carry over into their SI product.
This service has so much potential, Orefice says, because of what SI brings to the table: “award-winning journalism, exclusive access that no one else can bring. You match all of that up with swimsuit and fantasy sports, it’s a really compelling package.”