Sports Illustrated Resorts to expand across US with active lifestyle at their core

By Megan Whitby    19 Oct 2023

The first Sports Illustrated Resorts college campus will open in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2025 / Sports Illustrated Resorts

Travel + Leisure Co has acquired the rights to the vacation ownership business of Sports Hospitality Ventures

The plan is to create a tailored, sports-centric environment, with immersive experiences, entertainment and cuisine, including fitness and wellness amenities

Tuscaloosa, home to the University of Alabama, has been chosen as the first location for Sports Illustrated’s line of college town resorts with plans to open in late 2025

The new resorts are anticipated to be developed using an asset-light development financing model

A network of Sports Illustrated branded resort and lifestyle complexes will launch in the US following a deal between Travel + Leisure Co and Sports Hospitality Ventures (SHV) – the hotel and resorts licensee for the Sports Illustrated brand in North America and the Caribbean.

Each Sports Illustrated Resort campus is expected to feature a full-service hotel, a vacation club and residences, as well as a host of branded attractions from live-action sports and entertainment to dining, wellness and relaxation amenities.

All will share a cohesive design that will immerse guests and owners in iconic moments from almost 70 years of content from established US sports publication Sports Illustrated.

Travel + Leisure Co and SHV will create destinations located in popular US college towns near universities with devoted fan bases. The first college location is set to launch in Tuscaloosa, the home of the University of Alabama, with an opening scheduled for 2025.

The two companies say the property will capture the essence of sports and active lifestyle, complete with a full-service hotel, vacation ownership club, signature SI Fit Health/Wellness Center, dining, entertainment and more.

The Alabama outpost will mark the world’s second Sports Illustrated Resorts property, following the launch of the debut resort in Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic in 2022.

More college town destinations are expected to be announced in the future, plus, the broader portfolio of properties is expected to include beach clubs and experience parks located in leading leisure destinations.

“Sports Illustrated Resorts are about hospitality, lifestyle, leisure and entertainment where we celebrate not only the legacy of Sports Illustrated, but the path it is on now, by immersing our guests in sports culture and providing the best entertainment, wellness, cuisine, fitness and health to our guests,” said Christopher Schroeder, CEO of SHV.

“People are seeking differentiated experiences that allow them to be more active and participatory, and Sports Illustrated Resorts are delivering the ultimate experiences for guests through the hospitality destinations we’re creating.”

Business plan

The new resorts are anticipated to be developed using an asset-light development financing model.

SHV has partnered with Kituwah LLC (the business entity of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) to expand the Sports Illustrated Resorts brand. The organisation has provided a capital commitment of US$320 million (£264 million, €303.1 million) to help grow the brand.