888 recently announced that it had entered into a new partnership agreement with Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the parent company of Sports Illustrated (SI). 888 is betting big on the US launch of their SI branded sports betting and iGaming products, which will be introduced first in the state of Colorado.
888 is hopeful that the addition of the SI brand to its growing portfolio will enhance the company’s position as it aims to expand its operations in the US.
Under the terms of the new deal, 888 will gain exclusive rights to digital channels and other associated brands under Sports Illustrated. The partnership will enable 888 to reach millions of engaged sports fans across the US, which will in turn improve the company’s presence in the country. ABG and 888’s new deal is worth around $10 billion, renewable for up to 20 years.
Yaniv Sherman, Senior Vice President and Head of US for 888 Holdings, recently shared their initial plans for their SI-branded products, especially SI Poker, and the company’s priorities this year.
Establishing SI Poker Is A Top Priority  
Sherman said they’re keen on giving SI Poker the “proper bandwidth and attention” as it launches in the US. This indicates that the company will focus on building the SI Poker brand first, gauge its performance in Colorado and other US states, and then make further decisions about its own 888poker brand from there.
New Jersey is currently the only state where the 888poker online poker site operates, via a license held by Caesars. While 888poker previously announced plans to expand and grow its own brand in the US, expanding to other states beyond NJ might not happen anytime soon, with the company prioritizing its partnerships with WSOP.com and now SI.
As of now, 888 will concentrate on promoting SI Poker as a separate platform as it enters Colorado. Sherman said their future plans in relation to their online poker offerings will very much depend on the reaction of the market to SI Poke. They can go all-in on SI Poker, or stick to 888poker, or come up with a combination of both brands.
Sherman said that if their joint venture with ABG in relation to the SI-branded products eventually succeeds, it will be a “very effective acquisition and cross-sell mechanism”, and will bring more growth to the company’s US operations in general.
It could also consider adding more skins to its 888 brand. The company adopted a similar strategy in the UK via the 777 casino platform which Sherman described as a tactical brand that’s performing quite well in driving their market share in the British online gaming market. According to Sherman, securing additional brands is a viable option for the company going forward.
When it comes to the company’s sports betting operations, Sherman admitted that SI sportsbook currently has more potential to compete in the US market than 888sport.
SI Will Be Part of Interstate Compact
888poker has an existing partnership with Caesars Interactive Entertainment, the owner of the WSOP. Both began working together in 2013. Earlier this year, both companies agreed to extend their software deal until 2026. 888poker’s software powers all of the WSOP.com sites across the US.
WSOP.com is set to enter both Pennsylvania and Michigan this year, operating via 888poker’s newest innovative software Poker 8. WSOP.com’s launch in both states will strengthen the 888/WSOP network, especially with interstate compacts now becoming a reality.
888/WSOP.com is currently benefiting from the only multi-state agreement in the country, involving New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. WSOP.com operates in both New Jersey and Nevada, while 888poker also has a presence in NJ, and also provides software support for operators offering online poker in Delaware.
If Michigan and Pennsylvania eventually decide to join the compact, both 888 and WSOP.com will have access to the biggest player pool in the US. Sherman said the addition of SI Poker will further strengthen that network and the brand will become a prime member of the compact.

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