You Won't Believe Why Sports Illustrated Lays off Its Entire Staff

Photo:  (Getty Images)
Photo: (Getty Images)

Sports Illustrated staffers were notified via email Friday that they were being laid off.

Authentic, the licensing group that originally purchased SI for $110 million five years ago, is terminating its licensing agreement with The Arena Group, according to Front Office Sports. Arena Group missed a $2.8 million payment to Authentic three weeks ago, breaching the 10-year SI licensing deal, FOS reported.

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SI dates back to 1936, and was once the premier destination for written sports content, documenting the most impactful moments in sports through its covers and issuing an annual “Sportsperson of the Year” award. The magazine was sold to Meredith Corporation as part of an acquisition of Time Inc. in 2018. The company sold off Sports Illustrated to Authentic Brand Groups for $110 million the following year. Licensing out the rights to the Maven (later called The Arena Group), Sports Illustrated’s digital identity became a hub for other smaller sites like Athlon Sports, The Spun, Morning Read, and The Hockey News. However, it struggled to find digital footing under the new ownership.

Cale Clinton writes for Deadspin, which like The Root, is owned by G/O media

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