At 2:45 this morning, we officially unveiled the redesigned and rebuilt SI.com. The single, overriding objective of this overhaul is the marriage of a premium digital destination with SI’s premium content in all its award-winning forms: video, words and photography. Engineered by SI Group head of product Krys Krycinski, SI Group head of product development Alex Charalambides and their teams, the new SI.com is built upon the foundation of mobile and social optimization, intuitive navigation, a clean aesthetic and raw speed. We know that its predecessor did not meet these basics of the user experience, nor did it sufficiently showcase the consistently excellent and conversation-setting storytelling and journalism, videography and photography, shortform fun and longform muscle that SI delivers. We own that.
We own this, too: our promise that the new SI.com will not only deliver top-shelf functionality and design, but also the deepest, richest range of content in the sports ether. Today’s story roster hits every note: from Michael Rosenberg’s deep dive into the impact Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction had on his brother Jonathan’s life and once-promising coaching career, to quick-hit on-camera interviews with 67 Team USA athletes ahead of next week’s Rio Games, to the definitive list of the 100 greatest wrestlers of all time. The coming days will offer a similar blend of A-list access (TheMMQB.com’s Peter King with Aaron Rodgers and his receivers), interactivity (Allen Kim on how the Cubs were built), plain, damn fun (Andrew Sharp on which NBA coaches would make the best POTUS), and a Big Exclusive™ (coming Tuesday).
This is just the latest—and biggest—step in the broader transformation of SI Digital, a complete revitalization that also has included the launch of the Sports Illustrated app in February and the redesigns of SIKids.com and the ever-popular SI Vault in March. Still, more work is ahead.
Over the next few months, SI will unveil a series of initiatives, including new game-changing content partnerships; fresh investment in the franchise’s digital infrastructure; extensive real-time distribution across both established and burgeoning digital platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and others; and ambitious experimentation with new forms of storytelling, especially in the video and social spaces. This mirrors the changes that are taking place throughout SI’s parent company, Time Inc., whose deep roster of brands—more than 30 in all—will create excellent opportunities for cross-title collaboration. The intersection of sports and food? We’ll borrow on our connections to Food & Wine ... or Cooking Light ... or Southern Living. Game of Thrones, that growing redoubt of sports fans on Sunday nights? No one covers Westeros like Entertainment Weekly or FanSided. Need a partner to build on the success of SI’s Fashionable 50 launch last spring? InStyle and People Style Watch are one flight up in our downtown New York headquarters.
In the end, you, of course, will judge whether we have delivered on our vow. So tell us what you think—the bullhorn is yours. Send us your comments on Twitter or Facebook. We know enough about redesigns—our own and those of our competitors alike—to understand that there is still work ahead, areas we can improve and fresh opportunities for innovation that we have yet to plumb.
We also believe, deeply, that you have in front of you a product worthy of the excellence that TheMMQB.com, Planet Fútbol, SI Swimsuit, Extra Mustard, Campus Rush and the dozens of standard-setting writers, photographers, videographers, editors, producers and designers deliver and will continue to deliver every day.
Chris Stone is the Editorial Director of the Sports Illustrated Group.