November 16, 2021
Sports Illustrated makes its Snapchat debut with “America’s Best Sports Videos.” The Snap Original series aims to connect the 67-year-old sports franchise with younger audiences through user-generated footage debuting Fridays. According to Snap, more than 85 percent of the Gen Z population watched a Snap Originals video in the second half of 2020. Snap users can access the program by scanning SI’s unique Snapcode or searching by title on the Snapchat Discover page. The show is hosted by 28-year-old Ashley Nicole Moss, host and co-creator of SI’s “Laces Out” series about sneaker culture.
Marketing Dive describes the new series as “the kind of snackable, user-generated content that resonates with younger audiences, as seen on short-video platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Snap’s own copycat Spotlight.”
In September, Sports Illustrated parent Maven rebranded itself The Arena Group, shifting its focus from niche publications to “category-specific content and hosting and acquiring sites that fit into the sports and finance verticals,” known internally as “arenas.”
“We are excited to bring this fun and entertaining series to Snapchat and its audience. Our iconic brand will now connect with the next generation on Snapchat and expand our best-in-class storytelling onto one of the most coveted platforms in the space,” Sports Illustrated and The Arena Group president of media Rob Barrett said in a press release.
The shift from longtail publisher to digital media firm began when former Yahoo and Fox Interactive executive Ross Levinsohn took the helm of Sports Illustrated in June 2019. Levinsohn was put in charge of Maven in August 2020. Earlier this month, The Arena Group and Sports Illustrated announced the appointment of ESPN veteran Joy Russo as SI’s executive editor, content strategy.
Sports Illustrated’s Snap deal reflects how brands increasingly rely on social media to reach mobile-first audiences, Marketing Dive writes, pointing out that original content, gaming and e-commerce are an important part of that outreach. SI’s Snapchat alliance is the latest in a series of recent deals that includes a multi-series podcast agreement with iHeart Radio Network and the acquisition of leading sports website The Spun.