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Sports Illustrated, Travel + Leisure Launch College Town Resorts Concept

Sports Illustrated and Travel + Leisure Co. recently launched their new line of college town resorts and announced that Tuscaloosa, Alabama – home to the University of Alabama – will be the first resort location, with plans to open in late 2025.

Travel + Leisure and Sports Hospitality Ventures, the hotel and resorts licensee for the Sports Illustrated brand across North America and the Caribbean, have introduced a new concept for a network of sports-themed resort and lifestyle complexes located in popular college towns near universities with devoted fan bases.

Every Sports Illustrated Resorts campus is expected to feature a full-service hotel, a vacation club and residential condominiums – all of which will share cohesive design that immerses guests and owners in memorable moments from nearly 70 years of Sports Illustrated content. All resort campuses will also include a range of branded attractions across live-action sports and entertainment, dining, wellness and relaxation. In addition to the planned university locations, the broader portfolio of properties is expected to include beach clubs and experience parks located in leading leisure destinations.

“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,” said Christopher Schroeder, CEO of Sports Hospitality Ventures.

Sports Illustrated Resorts

Sports Illustrated Resorts is developing an interactive experience that celebrates 70 years of Sports Illustrated through several different product types, including larger format resorts – complete with interactive experience parks – college town resorts and boutique beach clubs. Sports Illustrated Resorts is focused on opening properties in major leisure destinations, high-traffic urban centers, university towns and sports and entertainment districts.

The first Sports Illustrated Resorts property opened in 2022 in Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. The company announced its first major Sports Illustrated Resorts college town destination will be in Tuscaloosa, the home of the University of Alabama. This property will offer a full-service hotel, vacation ownership club, signature SI Fit Health/Wellness Center, world-class dining, entertainment and more, all located just across the Black Warrior River from the University of Alabama.

As an institution steeped in rich sports history and tradition, the University of Alabama has been featured on the Sports Illustrated cover more than any other university. This year, Tuscaloosa was named by Travel + Leisure as one of the 25 best college towns in the U.S. The Tuscaloosa resort is slated to open in late 2025.

Schroeder also recently announced Sports Hospitality Ventures is in “serious discussions with officials from the City of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan to evaluate a potential opportunity to include Ann Arbor as a destination.”

Sports Illustrated Resorts Vacation Club

A brand-new product, the vacation club will bring loyal fans and their friends and families together by elevating their accommodation experience even further. For the cost of an initial membership, Sports Illustrated vacation club members will receive flexible points-based currency to make repeat resort reservations and use offerings from across the growing Sports Illustrated Resorts portfolio.

Travel + Leisure is leveraging its expertise in managing multiple brand partnerships for the development, distribution and management for the new Sports Illustrated vacation club product.

“We’re excited to be working with the Sports Hospitality Ventures team to create a custom club experience for passionate sports fans,” said Geoff Richards, COO of vacation ownership at Travel + Leisure. “Our vision for this entirely new vacation club is to provide members a unique opportunity to totally immerse themselves in game day life with a piece of their favorite college town, plus flexibility to travel away with their team and beyond.”

Sports Illustrated Residences

Sports Illustrated residences will be fractional and wholly owned condominiums professionally managed through a partnership between Travel + Leisure and Sports Hospitality Ventures. The residences are designed to deliver Sports Illustrated Resorts’ signature services and amenities to condominium owners.

Leveraging strong partnerships as the resort network grows

Sports Hospitality Ventures, under license from Authentic Brands Group, launched Sports Illustrated Resorts in 2022 to create new premium, lifestyle resort and entertainment destinations.

Kituwah, the business entity of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, brings a wealth of hospitality, development and market knowledge as partners of Sports Hospitality Ventures, in addition to a capital commitment of $320 million to expand the Sports Illustrated Resorts brand.

“The Cherokee cultural values have been at the core of our mission at Kituwah LLC since the beginning of this exciting partnership,” said Mark Hubble, CEO of Kituwah. “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 companies begin work on the planned Tuscaloosa resort campus, additional college town destinations are expected to be announced in the future.

To learn more about the Sports Illustrated Resorts portfolio, visit