Ross Levinsohn: Moving Sports Illustrated Forward

Ross LevinsohnWhen it comes to communicating to a broad audience, Ross Levinsohn has plenty of experience. A bachelor’s degree in communications from American University provided the knowledge base that he needed to get his start in the advertising and content businesses. Prior to taking his current position as the CEO of Maven, a Seattle-based media conglomerate, Levinsohn had previous experience as the head of Fox Interactive Media, as CEO of the LA Times and as interim CEO of Yahoo!

Ross Levinsohn’s experience with digital platforms is extensive. He ran a consulting business before taking over as the CEO of Tribune Interactive, where he oversaw the digital footprint of more than 100 publications, including the Chicago Tribune and the Orlando Sentinel.

Maven currently has more than 300 brands under its banner, and these sites draw in more than 150 million viewers monthly. Many magazines have run into financial trouble in recent years as older revenue streams no longer pay off as they once did. Sports Illustrated one publication that had this difficulty. After taking over the company, Levinsohn has led Sports Illustrated away from an older advertising-based model. The newer model encourages users to sign up for premium content, and this step can lead to subscribers who provide recurring revenue over the long run.

Even though Ross Levinsohn and Maven have been in charge of Sports Illustrated for only a couple of years, the brand has started to turn around. It is again a profitable venture, and its EBITDA has more than doubled since May 2019. Additionally, the magazine attracted a record 38 million visitors to its website in January 2021. Licensing agreements and a paywall have added revenue to the brand, and this financial turnaround can provide optimism for the future of Sports Illustrated.