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Sports Illustrated Parent Authentic Brands Files For IPO

The group owns a cadre of famous retail and intellectual properties.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

Authentic Brands, the owner of Sports Illustrated and Muhammad Ali intellectual property has filed for an initial public offering. The company made around half a billion dollars in 2020 off the work of over 30 retail brands along with more IP attached to Shaquille O’Neal, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and “Dr.J” Julius Erving.

The valuation could come in around $10 billion, according to some analysts with Bloomberg reporting the listing size at $100 million. Authentic Brands is using the money to tackle some of the debt amassed over the past decade. According to Front Office Sports, the company has pulled off around $2.6 billion in acquisitions since 2010.

The Sports Illustrated connection started in 2019 when Authentic Brands bought the publication from Meredith for $110 million. That deal was basically only for the Sports Illustrated IP and not the day-to-day publishing duties of the publication.

“Most people look at SI and think about the iconic magazine. What they don’t see is the brand’s huge potential to grow horizontally: digital, sports gaming, event ticketing, and world-class immersive events,” Salter wrote in an introduction to the business included in the filing. “A lot of sports players have big endorsements, but few players are brands. Shaq is absolutely a brand. When we partnered with Shaquille O’Neal, we worked with Shaq to define his brand values and created a long-term vision for his brand.”

IP is about to turn into real property for Authentic Brands, who has big plans for the next year. These include an SI Sportsbook in Colorado and a continuation of Shaq’s Fun House DJ parties put on at the Super Bowl each year. O’Neal made about $1.8 million from Authentic Brands last year to consult with him on brand image.

It’s been a major decade of growth for the company since it launched in 2010. That train doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.

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The Athletic Dropped From Trevor Bauer Lawsuit

“We welcome the court’s dismissal of claims against The Athletic. We continue to believe that Knight’s tweets were non actionable.”

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The Athletic has been dropped as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by MLB pitcher Trevor Bauer after reporter Molly Knight tweeted incorrect statements in regards to Bauer’s legal troubles after being accused of violent sexual encounters with a California woman.

In 2021, Knight tweeted that it was “not possible to consent to a fractured skull” after reports surfaced of what Bauer had done to his alleged victim during a sexual episode. The accuser did not suffer a fractured skull, court documents show.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald dismissed The Athletic as a defendant in the case, but did say Bauer can amend his lawsuit to continue to include Knight. The judge claimed Knight’s tweets “favors that a reasonable reader could conclude that the tweets implied an asserted fact.”

In a statement, The New York Times — which now owns the online publication after purchasing it in January of this year — said they agreed with the decision.

“We welcome the court’s dismissal of claims against The Athletic,” The Times told Front Office Sports. “We continue to believe that Knight’s tweets were non actionable.”

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Sports Online

Bomani Jones: I’m Better At Talking About Political, Social Issues Than Most In Sports Media

“I personally am better at talking about those things than most people who work in this industry. Like I feel like I can say that fairly and then it not really be an arrogant thing.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James found himself in a few headlines last week when he questioned reporters for not asking him about the recent Washington Post story and photo surrounding Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and ESPN commentator Bomani Jones took the opportunity to discuss the revelation.

Jones was pictured as a 14 year old among a crowd during an early stage of integration of public schools in Arkansas during the civil rights movement.

LeBron pointed out that he would field questions when there’s a controversy surrounding a Black person and spoke about the situation with former Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving, but he found it curious that no one had asked his opinion on the Jerry Jones story. LeBron had long considered himself a Cowboys fan, but in recent years he’s stopped supporting the team over Jones’ mandate that Dallas players stand for the National Anthem.

On his ESPN podcast The Right Time, host Bomani Jones talked about LeBron and circled it around to how he and other ESPN personalities caught a ton of flack for speaking about political or societal issues that often don’t fall within the confines of sports.

Jones said that being able to talk about political and societal issues comes easier to him than it does to most members of the sports media.

“I personally am better at talking about those things than most people who work in this industry,” Jones said. “Like I feel like I can say that fairly and then it not really be an arrogant thing.”

Jones said it comes down to the fact that there’s a bias at play. Are people going to take offense to what you’re saying because they disagree, or are they going to like what you’re going to say because they agree?

“They’re reinforcing the fact that you’re reinforcing what it is that you want to hear,” Jones said. “But the truth is that most people are not qualified to talk about these things before the world, because talking about these things before the world is very, very difficult.”

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John Jastremski Fires Back After Craig Carton Criticism

“I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”

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Earlier this week, WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton said John Jastremski — a former WFAN host now hosting a podcast for The Ringer — “shunned” his radio career advice.

During his New York New York podcast Thursday, Jastremski strongly condemned Carton’s remarks.

“I don’t like going here with this stuff, ’cause I know this plays right into what this guy likes to do,” Jastremski said. “This is his M.O. This is what he’s done his entire career. It’s what he’s done for his entire career and he’s had success doing it. He lives for this stuff. But it really set me off. It set me off because I gotta see it on Barrett Sports Media while I’m on vacation. Like I wanna be bothered with this shit, number one. Number two, it’s just tone-deaf, insulting, and flat-out rude every which way.

“Number one: going after people who work at McDonald’s? Who the hell are you to do that? Number two: You’re insulting a multi-billion dollar company where I work. I have a great job, a great platform, a great producer. I have two great jobs, I might add. And you’re insulting both of them. By the way, you’re on that network. Five days a week. And you’re insulting that network. How stupid are you? Taking shots at people of the network you’re on, I’m on. And I could tell you, it pays well. I do ok.

“As for career advice? Guess what? I listen to legends. Bill Simmons, you ever hear of him? Worth a lot more than you. Mike Francesa? My boy Adam Schein? I listen to those guys. I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”

Calling Carton a crook harkens back to the WFAN afternoon host’s stint in federal prison for participating in a ponzi scheme that scammed investors out of $5.6 million that he in turn used to pay off gambling debts. Carton was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison before serving just over a year in prison before being released in 2020.

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