Time Inc. has reportedly struck a deal to sell Sports Illustrated Play – a paid software application that allows parents, fans and players to track youth sports stats and enter teams for leagues and tournaments – to NBC Sports .
Big layoffs are expected, including that of SI Play CEO Jeff Karp.
Sources said NBC will combine it with its own Sports Engine app.
“It could be a good move for NBC as long as the software incorporates the five steps covering tournament registration, scoring, league management, squad management and recruiting,” said Joe Mohen, CEO by Chimes Broadcasting.
SI Play was created by ex-Time CEO Joe Ripp, who took over three sites – League Athletics, Sports Sign Up, and iScore – and combined them under the Sports Illustrated umbrella in mid-2015.
In 2016, sports scoring sites were taken over by other players. Dick’s Sporting Goods bought GameChanger and NBC took over the Sports Engine site.
A source familiar with the situation said: “When Sports Illustrated Play was launched by Ripp, it was a bold first game of consolidation in the youth sports space. It was quickly followed by hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in competitive consolidation by Blue Star Sports. [Jerry Jones], NBC Sports and Dick’s Sporting Goods. In other words, for one of the first times in ages, Time Inc. was boldly in a first-come position to capture value and win a booming market. “
But that changed once Rich Battista took over and takeover rumors began to circulate around Time Inc., which ultimately agreed to sell the entire business to Meredith for 2.8. billions of dollars. The NBCUniversal deal is said to be for all the money and will close before the Meredith deal is finalized early next year.