Legendary Magazine Survives After New Publisher Acquires it

(Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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Sports Illustrated will live on after Minute Media formed an agreement with the previous owner to continue its publication, according to multiple reports.

Minute Media reached a licensing agreement with Authentic Brands Group (ABG) Monday after ABG had announced the removal of The Arena Group’s publishing license on Jan. 19, according to the Associated Press (AP). ABG will also acquire an equity stake in Minute Media, the AP noted. Over the last two months, ABG has been negotiating with Minute Media, Arena, and numerous other publishing entities.

Minute Media’s license with Sports Illustrated (SI) will be for 10 years, according to the New York Times (NYT). The agreement includes the option to extend the license for up to 30 years total, the outlet reported. Minute Media is a New York-based company that publishes other online sites, including Fansided and The Players’ Tribune, the NYT reported. (RELATED: Sports Illustrated’s Potential New Publisher Might Ax The Swimsuit Issue … What The Hell Are They Thinking?).

“We have said from the start that our top priorities are to keep Sports Illustrated alive, uphold the legacy of the institution and protect our union jobs,” Emma Baccllieri, the vice chair for the SI Union and staff writer for the magazine, said in a statement shared on Twitter. “We look forward to discussing a future with Minute Media that does that.”

SI has faced turmoil in the last few months. Almost the entire union staff was laid off Jan. 19 after ABG revoked Arena’s publishing license after they failed to make a quarterly payment, the AP reported. It is unknown how much of the staff will retain their position at SI, a source familiar with the situation told the AP. Minute Media is expected to meet with SI employees to determine how much of the staff will be part of the transition.

In December 2023, the owner of SI fired CEO Ross Levinsohn after a report from Futurism alleged the company used fake author pages and published content created by artificial intelligence, according to a press release. The outlet found an author named Drew Ortiz did not exist outside the author biography page of SI and that his profile picture resembled a headshot created by an AI website.