SI Play app (July 2016)
The SI Play mobile application. Courtesy Time Inc.

Sports Illustrated Is Going After the Youth Sports Market

Jul 20, 2016

It's hard to believe that the youth sports market is worth $14 billion—that's a lot of halftime orange slices—but if you think about how much time parents spend shuttling their little ones from practice to practice, it starts to make sense.

So it comes as no surprise that Sports Illustrated, the venerable sports magazine (and sister title to Fortune), wants a piece of it. The brand this morning released a mobile application it calls SI Play, meant to serve as a hub for all youth sports activity. The app will allow coaches and administrators to manage online registration, payments, calendars, and rosters; it's also a place for young athletes (and their parents) to see updates and share in-game moments.

Time Inc. (time) , parent company to both Sports Illustrated and Fortune, is serious enough about the app that it last year appointed a dedicated CEO to the effort: Jeff Karp, formerly of Electronic Arts, Zynga, and GSN. And it should be: 150 million people are involved in youth sports in the U.S., and you'd better believe that many of them still use notebooks and email to coordinate things.

Sports outlets are getting better and better at mobile apps that help you navigate through seasons and tournaments—the recent Euro 2016 and Copa América Centenario professional soccer apps, for example, were excellent—and it stands to reason that those advances will eventually be enjoyed by amateurs, too. Now, if only the app could slice oranges.

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