A new chapter in Sports Illustrated’s golf coverage is about to begin.
Today The Arena Group, which publishes Sports Illustrated, announced the formal acquisition of Morning Read, which was owned by Buffalo Groupe. As a reader, you may have been aware that SI.com and Morning Read have been working together as editorial partners for more than a year. That partnership turned out to be a win for both companies, but most importantly, it was a boon for readers, because together SI and MR reached farther and deeper with coverage and created a must-read daily destination for golf enthusiasts.
So, now what?
To put it simply: Sports Illustrated’s golf coverage is about to go to another level.
Here is what this new chapter means for you. First, subscribers to Morning Read newsletters will continue to receive them in inboxes six days a week, with travel- and equipment-focused editions on Tuesdays and Fridays. (And if you aren’t signed up for those free newsletters, what are you waiting for?) SI’s golf homepage address remains the same and has a new look, and expect it to look and feel more dynamic as SI Golf evolves.
Next, a brief reminder: some of the greatest sportswriters ever to wield a notepad have graced SI’s pages while covering this game, from Grantland Rice, Herbert Warren Wind and Dan Jenkins, to Frank Deford, Rick Reilly, Alan Shipnuck and Michael Bamberger. The SI.com Vault is a treasure trove of some of the greatest game stories, features and profiles ever written about golf. A fan can get lost in it for a long time. Frankly, there are worse ways to spend a weekend.
Now we’re ready to add to that storied history with more news, features and analysis every day. Count on SI.com’s golf coverage to be an industry leader for original reporting. (For recent examples, see our news about LIV Golf’s 2023 schedule, or our interview with Phil Mickelson.) Our top reporters in the field, Bob Harig and Alex Miceli, are industry stalwarts who combined may have the entire PGA, LPGA, European and LIV Golf tours in their respective rolodexes. They, along with Senior Editor John Schwarb, will join SI Senior Writers Michael Rosenberg and Stephanie Apstein to give us quite possibly the most robust golf news team in the business. And we aren’t stopping there: we’re also hiring a new reporter to join our crew as we continue to grow.
Our evolution will expand beyond tour news – we plan to bolster our coverage for other topics that interest golf fans, including equipment, travel destinations, and gaming and gambling. Look for more new features coming soon in those areas, plus many more.
It’s an exciting time on the golf beat, and we wouldn’t be here without you. Here’s to all that’s ahead at SI Golf, ready for liftoff.
Here’s the full release announcing the Sports Illustrated/Morning Read acquisition:
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Arena Group (NYSE American: AREN) (the “Company” or “The Arena Group”), the tech-powered media company operating more than 240 brands, including Sports Illustrated, TheStreet and Parade, today finalized its purchase of golf publisher Morning Read from Buffalo Groupe, LLC. The acquisition continues the expansion of The Arena Group’s sports vertical, focusing on in-depth coverage of the golf world – from breaking news and championship coverage to podcasts, video travel, and interview series at SI.com/golf. With the acquisition, the Company will rebrand its golf coverage to SI Golf.
The addition of Morning Read’s industry-leading and trusted editorial team, highly engaged newsletter subscriber base, and strong e-commerce business will accelerate revenue and audience growth across The Arena Group’s sports media vertical. According to Google Analytics, Sports Illustrated Media Group reported 174% year-over-year growth in average monthly page views in the second quarter. Across all verticals, the Company reached 1.5 billion visitors last quarter and has established an avid golf audience of 40 million monthly digital visitors (according to Liveramp and Google Analytics).
“This is another step in growing quality storytelling and experiences for consumers, further expanding our footprint in one of the most valuable categories in all of sports,” said Ross Levinsohn, CEO of The Arena Group and Sports Illustrated.
“The evolution of our year-long relationship with Morning Read created an exceptional opportunity for our sports arena to expand SI’s illustrious golf coverage with a talented in-house editorial team,” said Chris Pirrone, SVP & General Manager of Sports Illustrated Media Group. “We are excited to add depth and expertise on professional and amateur golfers, influencers, culture, equipment, travel and much more, for the high household income visitors who frequent our sports, finance, and lifestyle brands.”
Morning Read first became an editorial partner with The Arena Group in 2021, providing compelling coverage around the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, and the newly formed LIV Golf Tour, plus original videos and podcasts. Morning Read’s editorial team joins The Arena Group alongside Sports Illustrated journalists and award-winning editorial staff to deliver print and digital content across all platforms. The team will report to Managing Director of SI Golf, Jeff Ritter, with the recent addition of Billy Condon from Golfweek to lead the golf revenue strategy.
“Morning Read was created for golf enthusiasts to start their day with the most comprehensive original golf content and partnering with Sports Illustrated has not only expanded our audience, but created the ultimate golf destination,” said Kyle Ragsdale, CEO of Buffalo Groupe, LLC which operates Morning Read. “We are extremely proud of Morning Read’s evolution which is directly attributed to the editorial and leadership team of Buffalo Media Network and look forward to seeing continued growth.”
About The Arena Group
The Arena Group creates robust digital destinations that delight consumers with powerful journalism, news about the things they love – their favorite sports teams, advice on investing, the inside scoop on personal finance, and the latest on lifestyle essentials. With powerful technology, editorial expertise, data management and marketing savvy, the transformative company enables brands like Sports Illustrated, TheStreet and Parade to deliver highly relevant content and experiences that consumers love. To learn more, visit www.thearenagroup.net.
About Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated (SI) is an unparalleled and influential leader recognized for shaping modern culture and uniting athletes, teams and fans worldwide. SI’s award-winning media enterprise brings powerful storytelling to life across platforms ranging from Emmy-winning video to the monthly print magazine with a 67-year heritage. Get in-depth features, probing profiles, and iconic and beloved photography from the best writers and photojournalists in the game at SI.com.
About Buffalo Groupe, LLC
Buffalo Groupe, LLC is a collection of agencies, events and media properties that authentically serve the escape industries of golf, outdoor recreation, travel, lifestyle, real estate and active sport. The collection is comprised of industry leading companies including Buffalo Agency, BGRM, 54 Brands, Longitudes Group, The First Call and Moments Live. Guided by our core principles of kindness, clarity and courage, our people adhere to a Groupe-wide foundational philosophy to connect brands and lifestyle audiences through content. Buffalo Groupe is headquartered in Charleston, SC with company offices in Washington, DC, Charlotte, Charleston, Portland and LA. For more information visit www.buffalogroupe.com.