NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Time Inc.’s (NYSE: TIME) SPORTS ILLUSTRATED today announced that Houston athletes J.J. Watt of the Texans and José Altuve of the World Series Champion Astros have been named SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s 2017 Sportspersons of the Year. The pair will accept the honor at SI’s Sportsperson of the Year Award Show on December 5 at Barclays Center in New York. The show will be televised nationally for the first time, airing on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on December 8 and on Univision Deportes Network at 8 p.m. ET on December 9.
Watt and Altuve are recognized for their contributions both on and off the field and for embodying this year’s key theme of “Athletes Who Care.” The two are featured together on the cover of SI’s annual Sportsperson of the Year issue and in new profiles spotlighting their impact. Read more about the choice and check out behind-the-scenes footage from their joint photo shoot on SI.com/Sportsperson.
“We will remember 2017 as much for what athletes strove to achieve off the field as for what they achieved on it,” said Chris Stone, Editorial Director of Sports at Time Inc. “While J.J. and José represent two very different paths, they both led to the same destination: #HoustonStrong. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of SI’s original ‘Athletes Who Care’ Sportsperson of the Year honor, which recognizes players who transcended sport alone. This year once again we celebrate a new generation of athletes who care, in all senses of the word: caring about humanitarian efforts, about social and political justice, about their communities and about their crafts.”
The Houston Texans’ Watt raised more than $37 million in Hurricane Harvey relief aid and served as a beacon for what an athlete can do with their platform beyond sports. As Peter King, Editor in Chief of The MMQB, points out, “Nothing J.J. Watt has achieved in his career, or might still achieve, will measure up to what he did for Houston.”
Said Watt: “All I did was give people a way to help… If I’m going to get an award, I feel like over 200,000 other people should too.”
Altuve, the Houston Astros’ second baseman and American League MVP, is an inspirational story about a consistently underestimated player who rose to the top of his sport. The three-time batting champion was a key part of the team that brought Houston its first World Series Championship. He is recognized for giving back and inspiring a community when it needed it most.
Altuve tells SI: “The city of Houston has treated me really good… I felt at that time that I owed them something. So when they were having a hard time, I wanted to give something back to them.”
Since 1954, Sports Illustrated has presented the annual Sportsperson of the Year award to the player, coach or team who has best personified the ideals of athletic achievement and sportsmanship, on and off the field. Watt and Altuve join a list of transcendental athletes that includes LeBron James, Serena Williams, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Wayne Gretzky. Watt is the seventh NFL athlete to be named Sportsperson of the Year, joining the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Joe Montana. Altuve is the 17th MLB athlete to be named Sportsperson of the Year, joining names like Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr. and Sandy Koufax. This is the tenth time SI has chosen multiple Sportspersons of the Year; the most recent co-Sportsperson of the Year, former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt and Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, were awarded in 2011.
J.J. Watt and José Altuve will be honored at the 2017 SI Sportsperson of the Year Award Show on December 5, alongside the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award winner, Colin Kaepernick; the 2017 SI Kids SportsKid of the Year, Bunchie Young; the 2017 Rising Star of the Year Award presented by Symetra, Joel Embiid; the 2017 Performer of the Year Award presented by Jack Link’s, Maya Moore; and the 2017 Hope Award recipient, Carlos Beltran.
The telecast is being produced by Time Inc. Productions, the company’s television production division, which has tapped JASH, a Group Nine company, to co-produce. Highly regarded producers Robert Morton and Daniel Kellison will serve as executive producers. Executive producers from Time Inc. are Steve Cannella, Ian Orefice and Josh Oshinsky. Official marketing partners of Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year include Gatorade, Jack Link’s, Reebok, Sam Adams and Symetra.
NBCSN will air an encore presentation of Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year on Sunday, December 10 at 10 p.m. ET and Tuesday, December 12 at 11:30 p.m. ET.
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Time Inc.'s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is the preeminent journalistic enterprise covering the world of sports both on and off the field. Debuting in 1954, SI has garnered worldwide acclaim for its award-winning storytelling born from an independent voice and for its unparalleled access to the most popular athletes and newsmakers from the sports world. This is the underpinning of the Group, which boasts a collection of best-in-class consumer products, platforms and businesses. The SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Group features the fastest-growing top 10 digital sports network, the most-read sports magazine, a new streaming video network—SPORTS ILLUSTRATED TV (SI TV)—and marquee franchises and properties including SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT, The MMQB, Planet Fútbol, the FanSided Network of sites and apps, Sportsperson of the Year, SI Fashionable 50, SI EATS, SI Kids, GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. For more information visit SI.com and follow @SINow on Twitter, @SportsIllustrated on Instagram and Facebook and SI_mag on Snapchat. The all-new SI TV over-the-top (OTT) network features over 130 hours of on-demand programming including original documentary series, classic sports movies and TV shows, available now on Amazon Channels at: SI.com/TV.
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Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) is the leading media company serving Hispanic America. The Company, a chief content creator in the U.S., includes Univision Network, one of the top networks in the U.S. regardless of language and the most-watched Spanish-language broadcast television network in the country, available in approximately 90% of U.S. Hispanic television households; UniMás, a leading Spanish-language broadcast television network available in approximately 84% of U.S. Hispanic television households; Univision Cable Networks, including Galavisión, the most-watched U.S. Spanish-language entertainment cable network, as well as UDN (Univision Deportes Network), the most-watched U.S. Spanish-language sports cable network, Univision tlnovelas, a 24-hour Spanish-language cable network dedicated to telenovelas, ForoTV, a 24-hour Spanish-language cable network dedicated to international news, and an additional suite of cable offerings - De Película, De Película Clásico, Bandamax, Ritmoson and Telehit; as well asan investment in El Rey Network, a general entertainment English-language cable network; Univision Local Media, which owns and/or operates 61 television stations and 58 radio stations in major U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico; Univision Now, a direct-to-consumer, on demand and live streaming subscription service; Univision.com, the most-visited Spanish-language website among U.S. Hispanics; and Uforia, a music application featuring multimedia music content. The Company also includes the Fusion Media Group (FMG), a division that serves young, diverse audiences. FMG includes news and lifestyle English-language cable network FUSION TV, and a collection of leading digital brands that span a range of categories: technology (Gizmodo), sports (Deadspin), music (TrackRecord), lifestyle (Lifehacker), modern women’s interests (Jezebel), news and politics (Splinter), African American news and culture (The Root), gaming (Kotaku), and car culture (Jalopnik). FMG also includes the Company’s interest in comedy and news satire brands The Onion, Clickhole and The A.V. Club. Headquartered in New York City, UCI has content creation facilities and sales offices in major cities throughout the United States. For more information, please visit corporate.univision.com.