By Spencer Feingold

The media giant Meredith Corp. sold the intellectual property of Sports Illustrated to Authentic Brands Group for $110 million, the company announced this week.

The purchase of the popular sports brand includes numerous facets of the organization such as its digital sites, franchises like Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, and the magazine's televised Sportsperson of the Year award ceremony.

"We've wanted for a long time to create a premium sports platform," Chris Stone, the magazine's editor-in-chief, told Cheddar on Wednesday, adding that with the new corporate support the company plans to expand in e-commerce, events and conferences, and gaming. "These are areas we want to invest in the future."

Sports Illustrated will serve as a new vertical for Authentic Brands Group's (ABG) growing portfolio, which includes the brands of celebrities ranging from Elvis Presley to Muhammad Ali and major retailers like Aéropostale and Juicy Couture. The company generates over $9.3 billion annually in retail sales worldwide.

"We are honored to welcome Sports Illustrated to the ABG family," Jamie Salter, ABG's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "As one of the most iconic brands in sports media, SI is a cultural centerpiece with massive opportunities for growth across its burgeoning digital, TV and social platforms and industry-leading print magazine."

The actual publishing of the print magazine is expected to be handed over to ABG at a later date.

ABG "needs somebody to operate the media company until they are able to handle it themselves," Stone said. "Until that time comes, Meredith will continue to operate Sports Illustrated."

Sports Illustrated was first bought by Meredith ($MDP) in January 2018 as part of the company's major acquisition of Time Inc., which included other publications such as TIME, Fortune, and Money. In September 2018, the company sold TIME to Marc Benioff, the billionaire founder of Salesforce ($CRM), for $190 million in cash.

Meredith's current media portfolio includes several leading publications — which reach 175 million U.S. consumers monthly — such as PEOPLE, Better Homes & Gardens, and InStyle, as well as, 17 television stations around the county. The company reported $743 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 14 percent.

The president of Meredith's National Media Group, Jon Werther, said in a statement the company was "delighted to find a great home" for Sports Illustrated at ABG.

"As a trailblazer and cultural phenomenon, Sports Illustrated has created moments and experiences for its readers that are unmatched by any other sports brand. We look forward to working with Meredith to extend Sports Illustrated's legacy and connect the brand with new audiences around the world," Nick Woodhouse, the president and CMO of ABG, said in a statement.

Stone also told Cheddar that ABG will be especially useful in organizing events, such as the Sportsperson of the Year award or the swimsuit launch week.

"We can find where we can fill each other's voids here and build buildings together," Stone said.