Time Inc. Teams Up with MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NHL, and Campus Insiders For New 120 Sports Digital Network
On the heels of recent digital-network announcements from the NFL and WWE, Time Inc. (owner of Sports Illustrated) is teaming up with MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NHL, and Campus Insiders to create a live-streaming network of its own – dubbed 120 Sports. The digital offering will give fans access to unauthenticated video programming with an eye on integrating “video and data in ways fans haven’t experienced before,” according to the press release. MLB Advanced Media will supply the technology backbone for the streaming service, while Silver Chalice will oversee production and business operations from a new custom-designed digital production facility at Harpo Studios in Chicago.
120 Sports – named for its concepts of offering original sports programming in two-minute segments – will produce and distribute a 24-hour live linear network driven by a “videocentric, 360-degree look across all sports,” according the presser. Set to debut later this spring, 120 Sports will feature original and hosted programming that will include game footage, analysis, and conversation and social commentary from the players, and fans. MLB, NHL, NBA, MLB.com, NASCAR, and Campus Insiders (a joint venture between IMG College and Chicago-based digital sports-media company Silver Chalice) will serve as content partners. The product will debut as free native applications for mobile and tablet devices, as well as a web experience at 120Sports.com and other distribution outlets. A premium content offering will be introduced next year.
The new digital network marks a large-scale attempt to compete with established players in the space like ESPN – which offers its ESPN3 live streaming service and TV Everywhere WatchESPN application – as well as newcomers like the NFL’s NFL Now personalized streaming video service, which will launch this fall ahead of the 2014 season.
Set to be available across mobile, tablet, web, and connected devices, 120 Sports will be created and powered by equity investor MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) technology infrastructure and mobile app development. 120 Sports adds yet another lucrative sports property to MLBAM’s growing portfolio, having already provided the technology infrastructure for ESPN’s ESPN3 digital network and Watch ESPN platform, the recently announced WWE digital network, CBS Sports’ March Madness on Demand, and YES Network’s Yankees streaming service.
“This is the right time to collaborate across the infrastructure of sports properties as we take the collective assets of each partner directly to fans on their favorite devices,” MLBAM President and CEO Bob Bowman said in the release. “Building a venture of this magnitude could only succeed with the right group of sports and news organizations and in the 120 Sports launch partners we have a product that will deliver on its promise to fans.”
Silver Chalice, also an equity investor in 120 Sports, will oversee production and business operations. Production headquarters for 120 Sports and its talent will be based in Chicago at a custom-designed and built digital production facility on the campus of Harpo Studios. Silver Chalice and Sports Illustrated‘s national sales organizations will lead all sales and marketing, while Sports Illustrated and Time Inc. will also provide operational and business development support.
“120 Sports is an innovative, addictive product that will give sports fans an amazing amount of always-on sports content and great technology so they can engage with news and highlights wherever they are,” said Time Inc. EVP Todd Larsen. “The product will offer Sports Illustrated fans a terrific complement to our editorial coverage, and as a business partner Time Inc. will have a stake in an enterprise with tremendous promise.”