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UNDRAFTED

Sports Illustrated Resorts and Travel + Leisure Co. Redefining Sports and Leisure Travel

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has been chosen as the first location for the line of college town resorts within the Sports Illustrated Resorts network. Situated across the Black Warrior River from the University of Alabama

In a groundbreaking collaboration that blends the world of sports and leisure, Travel + Leisure Co. (NYSE: TNL), the premier membership and leisure travel company, has joined forces with Sports Hospitality Ventures, LLC, the licensee for the Sports Illustrated brand in North America and the Caribbean's hotel and resorts sector. The result of this partnership is an innovative concept - a network of cutting-edge sports-themed resort and lifestyle complexes strategically situated in college towns brimming with fervent fan bases.


The ambitious vision behind Sports Illustrated Resorts encompasses a comprehensive array of offerings, including a full-service hotel, a vacation club, and residential condominiums. What sets these complexes apart is their commitment to immersing guests and residents in the rich tapestry of iconic moments drawn from nearly seven decades of Sports Illustrated content. Each resort campus promises an array of branded, one-of-a-kind attractions, ranging from live action sports and entertainment to top-tier dining, wellness facilities, and relaxation spots. Beyond the planned university locations, the expansive portfolio will also extend to encompass chic beach clubs and experience parks located in sought-after leisure destinations.


Christopher Schroeder, CEO of Sports Hospitality Ventures, LLC, encapsulated the ethos of Sports Illustrated Resorts, emphasizing its multifaceted appeal: "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, cuisine, fitness, health, and wellness to our guests. 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 are creating."


Sports Illustrated Resorts is charting an expansive roadmap, seeking to cater to a diverse range of market interests. From larger format resorts boasting interactive experience parks to campuses nestled in college towns, the brand's reach extends to boutique beach clubs and beyond. These distinctive destinations are poised to find their homes in major leisure hubs, bustling urban centers, university towns, and vibrant sports and entertainment districts.


The inaugural chapter of this exciting venture unfolded in 2022 with the opening of the first Sports Illustrated Resorts property in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. This locale, nestled within one of the largest and most exclusive resort developments in the Western Hemisphere, offers an array of activities and amenities, from golf and sportfishing to scuba diving, horseback riding, and beyond.


The anticipation is palpable for the forthcoming debut of Sports Illustrated Resorts in college towns, with Tuscaloosa, the revered home of the University of Alabama, taking center stage. This campus will epitomize the fusion of sports and an active lifestyle, boasting a full-service hotel, a vacation ownership club, the signature SI Fit Health/Wellness Center, world-class dining, entertainment, and much more.


The introduction of the Sports Illustrated vacation club is a noteworthy addition, designed to elevate the accommodation experience for loyal fans and their families. With an initial membership, Sports Illustrated vacation club members gain access to flexible points-based currency, enabling them to make repeat resort reservations and avail offerings across the expanding Sports Illustrated Resorts portfolio. Travel + Leisure Co. is leveraging its extensive experience in managing multiple brand partnerships to oversee the development, distribution, and management of this exciting vacation club product.


As part of this transformative endeavor, Travel + Leisure Co. acquired the rights to the vacation ownership business for Sports Illustrated, in collaboration with Wolfson Partners LLC and Sports Hospitality Ventures, as well as certain Sports Illustrated residential condominiums.


The Sports Illustrated residences, a blend of fractional and wholly owned condominiums, will receive professional management through a partnership between Travel + Leisure Co. and Sports Hospitality Ventures. These residences will provide owners with the signature services and amenities synonymous with Sports Illustrated Resorts, tailored to support an active and vibrant lifestyle.


Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has been chosen as the first location for the line of college town resorts within the Sports Illustrated Resorts network. Situated across the Black Warrior River from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa boasts a rich sports history and tradition, having graced the cover of Sports Illustrated more times than any other university. Its inclusion in Travel + Leisure's list of the 25 best college towns in the U.S. underscores its appeal as a destination.


The formidable partnership behind Sports Illustrated Resorts includes Authentic Brands Group, Kituwah LLC, the business entity of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Experiential Ventures Hospitality. Kituwah LLC brings not only capital commitment but also a wealth of hospitality, development, and market knowledge to the table, aligning with the brand's mission to create premium, lifestyle resort and entertainment destinations.


Mark Hubble, CEO of Kituwah LLC, highlighted the cultural significance of this partnership, stating, "The Cherokee cultural values have been at the core of our mission at Kituwah LLC since the beginning of this exciting partnership. We look forward to sharing the concepts that have existed in harmony for millennia to the world through the support of the experienced partners we have assembled in this endeavor."


As the journey commences towards the Tuscaloosa resort campus, Sports Illustrated Resorts is poised to announce additional college town destinations in the near future. This project embodies Travel + Leisure Co.'s multi-brand strategy, cementing its commitment to fostering new and exciting partnerships in the ever-evolving landscape of vacation club products.


The development of the new resorts is anticipated to follow an asset-light financing model. The Tuscaloosa resort is projected to open its doors in late 2025. While Travel + Leisure Co. anticipates no immediate earnings impact, it foresees this venture driving incremental growth from the second half of 2025 onwards.

For those intrigued by the Sports Illustrated Resorts portfolio, further details can be found at https://travelandleisureco.com/si.


About Sports Hospitality Ventures:Sports Hospitality Ventures is a dynamic partnership, comprising Experiential Ventures Hospitality, Authentic Brands Group, and Kituwah, LLC. Its primary focus lies in expanding the Sports Illustrated Resorts brand through sublicensing, rebranding, joint ventures, and development. Presently, Sports Hospitality Ventures has multiple projects underway throughout the United States and the Caribbean.


About Travel + Leisure Co.:As the world's leading membership and leisure travel company, Travel + Leisure Co. (NYSE: TNL) has revolutionized family vacations with its pioneering points-based vacation ownership program at Club Wyndham and the first vacation exchange network, RCI. The company orchestrates over six million vacations annually at 245+ timeshare resorts worldwide, offering tailored travel and membership products in addition to Travel + Leisure GO, the signature subscription travel club inspired by Travel + Leisure magazine's pages. With hospitality and responsible tourism at its core, the company's 19,500+ dedicated associates are committed to enhancing people and places worldwide. Travel + Leisure Co. truly puts the world on vacation. To learn more, visit travelandleisureco.com.


About Sports Illustrated:Sports Illustrated (SI) stands as a trailblazer and influential leader renowned for shaping contemporary culture and uniting athletes, teams, and fans worldwide. At the intersection of sports, lifestyle, and entertainment, Sports Illustrated offers a 360-degree experience through immersive content, innovative digital offerings, memorable events, and original products. SI's award-winning media arm brings compelling storytelling to life, encompassing in-depth profiles and up-to-the-minute news on SI.com, across social media platforms, and in its monthly print magazine. Beyond media, SI extends its authentic perspective to notable events and captivating brand activations, including The Sportsperson of the Year Awards, "The Party," SI Swimsuit Launch Weekend, and the SI Circuit Series.

Austyn McFadden

@UndraftedNews

September 20, 2023 at 4:00:00 PM

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