The brand’s the thing

What happens when the idea of a venerable legacy brand is worth more than the product that forged its reputation in the first place? The Authentic Brands Group, a licensing company that also owns Nautica and Nine West, bought Sports Illustrated this week from publisher Meredith Corp., with an eye toward using the iconic magazine’s reputation and historical output to potentially license apparel, sports gambling platforms, and airport stores. The company is also interested in gaining access to Sports Illustrated’s archive of more than two million images for use by its existing collection of sports-focused apparel brands.

"Sports Illustrated has real heritage, authenticity and respect," Authentic Brands Group founder and chief executive Jamie Salter told the Wall Street Journal. "It’s hard to get all those in a single brand."

However, Salter is less interested in making the deadline for next week’s edition or figuring out how to keep a print magazine afloat in 2019. As part of the deal, Meredith Corp. will license back the rights to publish the print magazine and website for at least two years.

The deal also continues efforts by Meredith Corp., which purchased Time Inc. in 2018, to refocus its collection of titles away from news and sports and toward lifestyle publications amid a continuing decline in ad revenue. Since last year, the company has also jettisoned Time and Fortune, while eliminating the print edition of Money.

Centers of diagnostic excellence?

For several years, Walmart’s Centers of Excellence program has steered the 1.1 million employees and dependents covered by its health plan to a select group of high-quality hospitals and health systems—including the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and Geisinger—for specific surgeries and procedures. 

Along the way, Walmart and its partners discovered that many of the patients who came to the centers didn’t actually need their services to begin with. All told, half of the company’s employees who received diagnoses for back surgery were either misdiagnosed or needed non-surgical treatment. 

Walmart, which identified high error rates for diagnostic imaging as the culprit, recently began steering employees and their dependents to 800 high-quality imaging centers. While employees are not required to use the centers, they are subject to additional cost-sharing payments if they choose other providers. 

Innovation at a glance

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