The Future Looks Bleak for Sports Illustrated

Massive layoffs, missed payments, and constant leadership changes signal dark days ahead.

Jameson Steward
Letters from a Sports Fan


Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

On Friday, employees at Sports Illustrated were notified of massive layoffs.

What’s the story behind one of the sports world's most recognizable publications? Well, as usual, follow the money.

And where that leads us is down a dark road with the future uncertain for Sports Illustrated.

Missed Payments Lead to Big Money Owed.

Three weeks ago, The Arena Group — which has an agreement with Authentic (the licensing group that owns Sports Illustrated) to publish Sports Illustrated in both print and digital forms — missed a $3.75 million payment that breached their licensing deal with Authentic.

That resulted in $45 million becoming immediately due from The Arena Group to Authentic.

Also, The Arena Group’s license to operate Sports Illustrated was revoked by Authentic.

What Does the Future Hold?

Perhaps the deal between Authentic and The Arena Group will be renegotiated.

Or perhaps another company will be brought in to take over the production of Sports Illustrated. The expectation remains that someone will continue producing Sports Illustrated in some format.

Who that may be — or what that may look like is still “up in the air.”