Time Inc. has carved out a new business in the youth and amateur sports markets on the heels of three recent acquisitions, and added a live event division as part of another purchase.
Terms of the deals were not released.
The sports-focused deals will combine to form a new company called Sports Illustrated Play. The youth market has been a prime focus for many publishers, and with this launch Time Inc. is attempting to extend the Sports Illustrated brand to a younger audience.
Two of the acquired companies—League Athletics and SportsSignup—are turnkey providers of league and team management tools. Organizations can sign up to register teams and leagues, and create websites to manage scores, schedules and payments. According to the company, the two services reach more than 8 million participants across 8,500 leagues and 300,000 teams.
The third company acquired by Time Inc. is iScore—a scoring app that's a digital version of a baseball scorebook. iScore also has scorekeeping apps for basketball and football. The baseball app sells for $9.99 in the App Store.
"We believe Time Inc. can bring greater value to this growing segment and provide a more rewarding experience to its passionate audiences," says Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp in a statement. "This opportunity represents a natural extension of the trusted Sports Illustrated brand. It was developed internally by George Linardos, an involved youth sports dad, who conceived the idea for Sports Illustrated Play and was a driving force behind the acquisitions and business plan."
Jeff Karp, a digital gaming executive who held roles at Electronic Arts, Zynga and GSN Games, has been hired to lead the division.
Time Inc. also announced the purchase of inVNT on Tuesday, an experiential company specializing in live media and creative services. The firm contributes to production of more than 200 events each year in consumer and B2B settings. A client roster that already boasts many of Time Inc.'s own advertisers opens up a host of opportunities for integration.
“Live media is a great way to deliver targeted audiences to marketing partners,” Ripp says in a separate statement. “inVNT provides proven event expertise that will make our company a more attractive strategic partner for global advertisers. This acquisition complements our traditional and digital advertising assets, and I see enormous potential to grow this business.”
The company will keep its name and remain based out of its Soho headquarters, and Scott Cullather, founder and global managing partner, will continue to lead the company.
The acquisitions and new divisions coincide with an announcement also made today on the launch of a new digital vertical called theDrive, which will focus on the automotive market. That, too, will appeal to a younger audience. The new site is set to launch in the fall.