Sports Illustrated has been hit with mass layoffs, which threaten to decimate the remaining staff of the nearly 70-year-old sports media brand.
The union that reps SI’s editorial workers, which is affiliated with the NewsGuild of New York, said in a post on X that on Friday staff members of Sports Illustrated were notified that its parent company, the Arena Group, “is planning to lay off a significant number, possibly all, of the Guild-represented workers at SI, a result of Authentic Brands Group (ABG) revoking Arena’s license to publish SI.”
In 2019, Authentic Brands Group purchased Sports Illustrated from Meredith for $110 million (before Meredith was acquired by IAC’s Dotdash). When ABG bought SI, it laid off more than 30% of the publication’s staff.
ABG licensed media and publishing rights for the SI brand to Maven, which changed its name in 2021 to Arena Group. Per the Washington Post, the Arena Group missed a recent payment for the SI publishing rights, whereupon ABG revoked the license.
Reps for ABG and Arena Group did not respond to requests for information.
This is another difficult day in what has been a difficult four years for Sports Illustrated under Arena Group (previously The Maven) stewardship. We are calling on ABG to ensure the continued publication of SI and allow it to serve our audience in the way it has for nearly 70 years. We expect The Arena Group to honor all the terms of our union contract and will fight for every one of our colleagues to be treated fairly.
“We have fought together as a union to maintain the standard of this storied publication that we love, and to make sure our workers are treated fairly for the value they bring to this company. It is a fight we will continue.”- Mitch Goldich, NFL editor and unit chair.