Storyland Studios Selected to Master Plan and Design All-New Sports Illustrated Resorts

Lake Elsinore, Calif. (April 7th, 2022) – Renowned international experience design and production studio Storyland Studios has been selected to master plan and design the latest addition to the world of immersive experiences: Sports Illustrated Hotels and Resorts, which are set to begin rolling out worldwide as early as 2023.

These new destinations will feature a variety of engaging, entertaining attractions for visitors and sports enthusiasts of all ages. Storyland’s team, made up of experience-design experts and veterans of the themed attractions industry, will lend its three-dimensional approach to storytelling to the project.

“Storyland is thrilled to begin the design and master planning processes for the global family of Sports Illustrated resorts,” said Ben Thompson, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Clients at Storyland Studios. “Our incredibly talented and diverse team of artists and artisans is well-equipped to deliver unforgettable experiences for guests of all ages and backgrounds.”

Since 1954, Sports Illustrated has been the most trusted and impactful media outlet in sports. The publication’s engaging storytelling, in-depth journalism, and powerful photography have made it a centerpiece of American sports culture for over six decades.

“To appear in Sports Illustrated is one of the greatest and most recognisable honours in popular culture,” says Matt Ferguson, Chief Innovation Officer at Storyland Studios. “It’s truly one of the most coveted pieces of real estate in sports media.”

The organization’s annual reach of more than 70 million consumers uniquely positions it to expand its offerings beyond publications and multimedia into real-life experiences.

Leading the design effort is master planner and Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Storyland Studios, Mel McGowan, AICP, DBIA, LEED AP. McGowan spent a decade with the Walt Disney Company, where he was involved in a variety of master planning and design roles.

“We’re honored to be a part of bringing our team’s concepts for this resort to life,” McGowan said. “Sports Illustrated is known worldwide for its enduring influence in the sports world. Transforming the brand from page to themed environment, then inviting sports enthusiasts, families, and adults of all ages to immerse themselves in that space, is going to be an incredibly exciting journey.”

The Orlando project, one of multiple Sports Illustrated Resorts in the works, will feature active, participatory visitor attractions, high-quality dining, lifestyle and wellness experiences, and celebrating some of the most iconic moments and athletes in sports history. Visitors who prefer direct, high-energy participation in attractions will thrive in the space.

Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the owner of Sports Illustrated, is at the helm of resort development. In partnership with Experiential Ventures Hospitality LLC and ADMI Inc., ABG aims to develop and launch a number of premium Sports Illustrated resort destinations.

The first Sports Illustrated resort location is anticipated to be in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with an expected unveiling date in 2023. The Orlando resort will follow. Other possible locations in the United States and Hawaii are under consideration.

Storyland Studios are looking forward to announcing more exciting IP partnerships in the near future.




About Storyland Studios

Storyland Studios imagines, designs and creates immersive experiences and environments that lift the spirit. The firm was recently slated to design the first-ever Ubisoft Entertainment Center at France’s Studios Occitanie, the first in its ongoing partnership with Ubisoft. Additionally, Storyland is heading up design for Storyville Gardens, an interactive, story-driven theme park based in Middle Tennessee, and a revamp of the beloved Ghost Town in the Sky theme park in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

In addition to the firm’s exciting recent projects, Storyland has worked alongside some of the world’s most well-known IPs over its twenty-year history. Some of their most notable work includes concepts, designs, scenic fabrication, and themed environments for Marvel, Star Wars, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, The Walt Disney Company, LEGO®, and Trillith Studios. For more information, visit www.storylandstudios.com.



Ben Thompson, Storyland Studios International

Email: ben@storylandstudios.com

International Phone: 0044 1494 732414


Mel McGowan, Storyland Studios West Coast

Email:  mel@storylandstudios.com

U.S. Phone: +1 800-218-1932


Matt Ferguson, Storyland Studios East Coast

Email: mattf@storylandstudios.com

U.S. Phone: +1 800-218-1932


About Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated (SI) is an unparalleled and influential leader recognized for shaping modern culture and uniting athletes, teams and fans worldwide. At the intersection of sports, lifestyle and entertainment, Sports Illustrated is a 360-degree enterprise that delivers immersive content, innovative digital experiences, unforgettable events, and original products. Its award-winning media outlet brings powerful storytelling to life through probing profiles, up-to-date news and game-day stats on SI.com, social media and the monthly print magazine. The most trusted name in sports transcends media through SI Tix, a fan ticketing platform for sports and entertainment events and SI Sportsbook, the most trusted platform in sports betting, which recently launched in Colorado with more states to follow. Sports Illustrated Studios translates the biggest and most compelling stories, characters and moments in sports into long-form film, television and audio content. The franchise brings its unique and authentic perspective to marquee events and captivating brand activations including The Sports Illustrated Awards, The Party, and Club SI.


For more information, visit SI.com.

Follow Sports Illustrated on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


About Authentic Brands Group

Authentic Brands Group (ABG) is a brand development, marketing and entertainment company, which owns a portfolio of global media, entertainment and lifestyle brands. Headquartered in New York City, ABG elevates and builds the long-term value of more than 30 consumer brands and properties by partnering with best-in-class manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. Its brands have a global retail footprint across the luxury, specialty, department store, mid-tier, mass and e-commerce channels and in more than 7,800* freestanding stores and shop-in-shops around the world.


ABG is committed to transforming brands by delivering compelling product, content, business and immersive experiences. It creates and activates original marketing strategies to drive the success of its brands across all consumer touchpoints, platforms and emerging media. ABG’s portfolio of iconic and world-renowned brands includes Marilyn Monroe®, Elvis Presley®, Muhammad Ali®, Shaquille O’Neal®, Dr. J®, Greg Norman®, Neil Lane®, Thalia®, Sports Illustrated®, Reebok®*, Eddie Bauer®, Spyder®, Volcom®, Airwalk®, Nautica®, Izod®, Forever 21®, Aéropostale®, Juicy Couture®, Vince Camuto®, Lucky Brand®, Nine West®, Jones New York®, Frederick’s of Hollywood®, Adrienne Vittadini®, Van Heusen®, Arrow®, Tretorn®, Tapout®, Prince®, Vision Street Wear®, Brooks Brothers®, Barneys New York®, Judith Leiber®, Herve Leger®, Frye®, Hickey Freeman®, Hart Schaffner Marx®, Thomasville®, Drexel® and Henredon®. Pending acquisition in Q1 2022*.


For more information, visit authenticbrands.com.

Follow ABG on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.