So, you can add (as descibed here on the Time Life Archive page) to the "... iconic moments of the 20th century, where you will find Alfred Eisenstaedt's sailor kissing nurse in Times Square, Margaret Bourke-White's Chrysler Building gargoyle and Gjon Mili's picture of Pablo Picasso "painting" with light, to name a few...." all of Sports Illustrated's imagery. It too is now in the hands of Getty Images (NYSE: GYI), with an announcement imminent by SI Pictures, but the deal was signed last month. I'm guessing they didn't want to announce it too close to April Fool's Day, because they'd have egg on their face as people laughed and said "oh come on, it's not 4/1 yet!"
It seems that SI's archive has been languishing a bit, so the geniuses that thought they could monetize the collection are now looking to Getty and their rapidly diminishing interest in editorial/creative (as reported here - Fool's Gold - Getty Images' Future, 4/1/08) to somehow save them. Let's see, Captain Smith, where would you like those deck chairs again? Just substitute deck chairs for server blades full of sports imagery, and you begin to get the point.
Truth be told, the deal, inked in early March, was held off because they wanted to spring the H&F purchase announcement first, without causing a ripple in the sale of GYI. Interestingly enough, this is more about protecting the imagery (supposedly) from others, BUT, Getty has some major sales goals they have to meet. Don't think though, that Getty won't intersperse the search results with their own wholey owned content, and maybe, just possibly, goose the results to "just meet" their sales objectives/requirements. I wouldn't put it past them, that's for sure.
Interestingly enough, Getty has in their deal with the sports leagues rights that allows them - with certain restrictions - to sell their sports imagery for commercial/advertising purposes. Why? Because the leagues get a cut. And, this was one of the things that Getty was holding over the SI folks' heads - that SI could only sell editorially, but through Getty, those images - at-least of major league sporting events (which GYI has contracts with) - could be sold in a commercial fashion, for big big dollars.
It's amazing that SI Pictures would take a premium brand and allow it to be dilluted by Getty's flacid pricing structure. Anyone who needs sports imagery of the caliber of SI's already knew where to get it.
Good Luck SI, you'll need it. Remember, when push comes to shove, and there's a shortage of lifeboats, it's women and children first.
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