Sports Illustrated CEO Ross Levinsohn Enacts Change in Sports Publishing

Ross Levinsohn Ross Levinsohn has built his entire career on the sports publishing industry. After his graduation from American University in the 1980s, he started to work for HBO, where he learned the techniques of production, interviewing and telling a story. He moved on to CBS, then the burgeoning internet called out to him. He accepted a position at Alta Vista to launch its web service. While the company’s plan did not come to fruition, the experience taught him about the rapid changes in technology and how they affected the delivery of news, information and entertainment.

In the middle part of Levinsohn’s career, he moved over to Fox Interactive Sports Media. He developed his people and management skills and quickly moved up the ranks, eventually becoming the firm’s CEO. This was his first CEO position, and many more would come. He also served as an interim CEO at Yahoo after working as a division president for several years.

Ross Levinsohn also tested the entrepreneurial waters throughout his career. Between CEO positions, he and James Heckman launched a digital advertising business that grew at an expontential rate. Yahoo purchased it in 2010, which is how Levinsohn ended up at the firm. Heckman used his share of the funds to bankroll a new company, Maven. Throughout the 2010s, Levinsohn worked as the CEO in a variety of sports publishing companies. He brought in new journalists and many independent contractors who expanded the breadth and depth of sports news, trends and reporting.

In 2019, Maven acquired Sports Illustrated. Heckman wanted to bring an experienced and proven leader to restore Sports Illustrated to its former number one position in sports news and journalism, and he knew that Levinsohn was the right person for the job. Levinsohn assumed the role of Sports Illustrated CEO in 2019.

He got started in his Sports Illustrated CEO role by recruiting new business partners to invest and provide more resources. He also used his Sports Illustrated CEO position to change the funding model. Rather than pop-up ads, he moved the publication to a paid subscription service for accessing all the content.