David Glasser's Studio Nabs Sports Illustrated Film and TV Rights for New Venture

David Glasser - Viacom Winter TCA Panel - Getty - H 2017
Getty Images

The first project will be the docuseries 'Covers,' which will take a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Sports Illustrated's best-known covers.

David Glasser's 101 Studios has partnered with Authentic Brands Group to launch Sport Illustrated Studios, which will produce projects based on the legacy publication's 65-year-old archive of work.

The studio, which will also have access to future work from the venerable magazine, plans to produce both narrative and non-fiction projects in television and film, across platforms.

ABG is known predominately as a brand development and marketing company that manages brands like Nautica and Frye and holds the licensing and trademark rights for celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. ABG purchased the intellectual property of Sports Illustrated from Meredith Corp. in May 2019 for $110 million, with the company retaining the marketing, business development and licensing functions for the publication.

"David and I have looked at buying companies together in the past, so when I was looking at Sports Illustrated, I called him and said, 'What do you think? Can we turn this into documentaries, movies and TV shows?'" Jamie Salter, founder and CEO of ABG, tells The Hollywood Reporter.  

"Jaime, David [Hutkin, 101 Studios COO] and I have worked together in the past, but when [Sports Illustrated] came around, I thought that it was not just another licensing deal like we did for Elvis or Marilyn. This is much bigger," Glasser tells THR.

Under the partnership, 101 Studios will be managing and overseeing all production, distribution and marketing for Sports Illustrated Studios in collaboration with ABG.

The first project from the studio will be the docuseries Covers, which will take a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Sports Illustrated's best-known covers, which have featured Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and Megan Rapinoe, among others. 

Glasser says the operation plans to produce projects for platforms "from as far left as Quibi to as far right as feature films." He adds, "For any of these partners or platforms, S.I. Studios will become one of the prominent sports content providers out there, in all formats."

“So much of Sports Illustrated’s legacy has been built on phenomenal reporting and writing,” Ross Levinsohn, CEO of Sports Illustrated Media, said in a statement. “We are thrilled that the in-depth stories that have come to define Sports Illustrated’s unrivaled storytelling will be further enlivened though this new studio.”

Offered Hutkin in a statement, “ABG has been a wonderful partner to us and we look forward to releasing content that reminds audiences of the thrill, pain, glory and excitement behind the most famous events in sports history.”

The deal is the highest-profile endeavor to date for 101 Studios, which launched by Glasser and Hutkin after exiting The Weinstein Co., which shuttered in the wake of the revelations of Harvey Weinstein's extensive history with sexual assault. 101 Studios has released Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s The Current War: Director’s Cut and the Sundance Audience Award winner Burden, and it produces Taylor Sheridan's Paramount Network series Yellowstone. Upcoming projects include Sheridan’s new series for Paramount Network, Mayor of Kingstown.

Michele Newman from 101 Studios and Sheppard Mullin handled the deal for 101 Studios. Corey Salter, Marc Rosen and Colin Smeeton represented ABG.