Dan PatrickIn the ongoing battle between ESPN and Sports Illustrated over talent, score one for SI.

Time Inc. today announced that Dan Patrick—the longtime Sportscenter anchor, ESPN Radio host and ESPN The Magazine columnist who left ESPN this summer—will join Sports Illustrated in January as a senior writer. As part of what purports to be a highly synergistic partnership, Time Inc. also said that its digital unit will host Patrick’s radio show on his Web site, www.danpatrick.com.

“As soon as we got a whiff that Dan was thinking about leaving ESPN, we got very, very interested,” SI group editor Terry McDonell said during a conference call Thursday.

Following his exit from ESPN, Patrick formed his own company, the Content Factory, which relaunched his nationally-syndicated, eponymous radio show two weeks ago. Time Inc. indicated that SI writers including Peter King, Tom Verducci and Rick Reilly will be regulars on Patrick’s show.

SI will run a weekly Patrick column beginning in January. Patrick will also blog for SI.com’s “Fan Nation” site and host the magazine’s “Sportsman of the Year” awards show in December. Sports Illustrated, in turn, will serve as the sales agent for danpatrick.com.

Patrick said Sports Illustrated “represents the pinnacle of sports journalism.”

For other writers, though, it’s ESPN that represents the pinnacle, at least in terms of potential television exposure, where its multiplatform cache is too splashy to pass up.

In June, a Los Angeles Times sports columnist, J.A. Adande, said he was approached by McDonell, but ultimately chose ESPN over SI because of the opportunity to appear on TV. “I was flattered that SI would think of me,” Adande told sports blog The Big Lead. “And McDonell had some intriguing ideas for what I could do for them, but I couldn’t continue to appear on Around the Horn in that scenario.”