Is This The End Of ‘Sports Illustrated?’ Publication Reportedly Laying Off All Employees

Sports Illustrated
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The end of an era?

Sports Illustrated has been an institution for nearly 70 years. The magazine in its current form was first published in 1954, and over the years has served as one of the go-to sources for sports news and opinions, while also gaining popularity for their racy swimsuit covers.

Originally owned by Time, Inc., SI was acquired by Authentic Brands Group LLC in 2019 for a reported $110 million, and since then the company has undergone significant changes and restructuring in an attempt to remain profitable, including licensing the rights to digital media company Maven (now known as The Arena Group) and launching non-editorial ventures like clothing lines and resorts.

But Sports Illustrated was hit by a major controversy at the end of 2023 when it was reported that the company was using AI-generated content and passing it off as being written by humans by creating fake writer profiles with AI images.

The Arena Group fired their CEO in the wake of the scandal, but earlier this week announced that it would make “significant reductions” in its workforce amid substantial debt and missed licensing payments to Authentic Brands Group.

But now, it seems like the once-iconic brand may have finally reached its end.

It was reported today that Sports Illustrated plans to lay off all of its editorial staff and writers, a move seemingly confirmed by a statement from the union representing SI’s writers:

“Earlier today, the workers of Sports Illustrated were notified that 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.”

And as word spread about the likely demise of the magazine, fans began taking to social media to share some of their favorite Sports Illustrated covers from throughout the publication’s history.

Seems like it truly is the end of an era.

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