888 Holdings is shutting down its New Jersey-based sportsbook 888Sport ahead of the launch of a re-branding to a Sports Illustrated (SI) sportsbook in 2022. The move is part of a partnership deal with SI’s parent company Authentic Brands Group (ABG) that was inked in June of 2021.
Under the terms of the deal, 888 licensed the SI brand to open the SI Sportsbook in New Jersey. 888 will pay a licensing fee to ABG. As part of the deal, ABG will acquire a 4.9 percent stake of 888’s entire US operation (which currently includes an SI Sportsbook in Colorado among other assets). That number could go as high as 19.9 percent, depending on how successful the SI Sportsbook is in New Jersey.
As is stands today, the 888, ABG partnership is set to last at least four years. But there’s plenty of flexibility built into the arrangement so the deal may last as long as 19 years.
In a statement reported on by NJ Gaming Review, 888 CEO Itai Pazner praised the SI partnership saying, “This partnership gives us an incredibly powerful platform to build our US position, without incurring all of the costs of building a brand in the US. This strategy allows us to invest much more selectively and effectively in the US, with a clear focus on using SI’s brand footprint and positioning to acquire customers more effectively, and to build a profitable business over time.”
There’s no word on when the SI-branded site will launch, but officials at 888 Holdings say that 888Sport customers can withdraw from their accounts and that all open wagers will be honored.