Talking New Media

Sports Illustrated launches new ‘SI Eats’ food and sports vertical

‘Our mission is to help you create memories as special as the one described here. It’s going to be a delicious adventure, and we’re hungry to get started’ – Senior Writer Andy Staples

This last weekend saw the soft launch of a new vertical from Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated, SI Eats, a website subdomain dedicated to the intersection of food and sports. The first, introductory post appeared last Friday, allowing the site to work out the kinks and started filling the site with content.

“You probably also have a memory that combines food and sports, and that’s why we’re launching SI Eats,” wrote SI senior writer Andy Staples. “But food and sports don’t only intersect at the concession stand. They meet in the tailgate lots, where LSU keeps winning the national title year after year even if the Tigers can’t seem to beat Alabama on the field. They meet in the kitchen as you test various crack dip recipes before everyone comes over on a fall Sunday. They meet at the sports bar where you spend 13 hours on the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament. And of course they meet on the road to see your favorite team play.”

Staples, who has covered college football for SI since 2008, has often included a food section in his Punt, Pass and Pork column, and now can talk more about food and sports.

“Plenty of places on the Web write beautifully about where to dine. We want to tell you where to eat. (And, if it’s your thing, to drink.) Expect a healthy—OK, that’s probably the wrong word—helping of burgers, barbecue, pizza, wings and beer. We’ll introduce you to the tastiest food and drink in the stadium, outside the stadium and on the way to the stadium,” Staples wrote.

The new food vertical comes at an odd time for Time Inc. as the company recently announced that Food & Wine would leaving NYC for Birmingham, Alabama, home of Cooking Light and Southern Living. The move may appear strange on its surface, knowing that direct shipments of wine are generally prohibited in the state, and Alabama’s restaurant scene is hardly a match for the Big Apple. But Time Inc. recently built an extensive studio with 28 test kitchens in Birmingham, and its titles there are highly prized by its publishing rivals.

As for SI, there has been a lot going on there as of late, with the growth of video content, its sports league management software, etc. Time Inc.’s commitment to grow its video content and programming is well known, and it is doing so built around its most famous brands… such as Sports Illustrated.