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Sports Illustrated Announces Plans to Layoff Entire Staff

Sports Illustrated Announces Plans to Layoff Entire Staff

Move comes after license to use its brand name was revoked….after the magazine’s owners failed to send a $4 million payment.

There has been an utterly fascinating development in Big Media.

It appears that the entire staff at the once iconic Sports Illustrated magazine is poised to be laid off.

The Arena Group alerted all Sports Illustrated staffers on Friday that their positions were being eliminated.

Richard Deitsch, a sports media reporter who left Sports Illustrated for the Athletic, posted on X the email that all employees received.

“Some employees will be terminated immediately, and paid in lieu of the applicable notice period under the [union contract],” the notice read. “Employees with a last working day of today will be contacted by the People team soon. Other employees will be expected to work through the end of the notice period, and will receive additional information shortly.”

The magazine’s union indicates it will continue to fight for the publication of the magazine, but that may be an uphill battle. The magazine’s owner, Authentic Brands Group, missed a payment to the Arena Group that was part of the 2019 sales agreement.

“This is another difficult day in what has been a difficult four years for Sports Illustrated under Arena Group (previously The Maven) stewardship,” the union said in a statement. “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.”

In 2019, [The Meredith Corp.] sold Sports Illustrated for $110 million to Authentic Brands Group, in turn agreeing with The Arena Group to publish SI in print and digital. That deal was terminated after Arena missed a nearly $4 million payment less than a month ago, in effect breaking the licensing deal.

The mainstream media is claiming that the reason for the massive layoff stems from the revocation of this marketing license.

In an email to employees Friday morning, the Arena Group, which operates Sports Illustrated and related properties, said that Authentic Brands Group has revoked its marketing license.

“As a result of this license revocation, we will be laying off staff that work on the SI brand,” the email said.

However, that license would not have been pulled if the $4 million dollars were paid. Now, why would the very famous Sports Illustrated magazine not be able to send a check?

The data suggest that the magazine publishers were not selling a publication that consumers wanted to buy.

For example, its readership wasn’t interested in seeing trans cover models.

SI readers seem to have preferred models whose height was proportional to weight . . . and perhaps young as well.

Furthermore, the magazine was caught using articles generated through using artificial intelligence.

Sports Illustrated is the latest media company to see its reputation damaged by being less than forthcoming — if not outright dishonest — about who or what is writing its stories at the dawn of the artificial intelligence age.

The once-powerful publication said it was firing a company that produced articles for its website written under the byline of authors who apparently don’t exist. But it denied a published report that stories themselves were written by an artificial intelligence tool.

Fun fact: Back in the early 1990’s, I would buy the swimsuit edition to determine what swimsuit I would purchase for that summer’s beachwear.

But it appears the people who were making the publication decisions decided woke messaging was more important than profits. Sadly for them–and their employees–the people they owed money to don’t have the same nonsense priorities.


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I don’t quite understand it, but it seems like a lot of valuable businesses have been bought for the purpose of running them into the ground. I think greed as a motivation is better than pure hostility directed toward the consumer.

    CommoChief in reply to Valerie. | January 20, 2024 at 6:56 pm

    IMO, not directly for the purpose of running them into the ground. That result was the foreseeable consequence of asinine policies and bad decisions by the folks who put a higher value on expressing the ‘correct ideology’ than their duty to shareholders to make a profit. It’s rampant in corporate America.

    I swear, as I get older Atlas Shrugged seems to become more and more relevant and topical. The corporations begin to be run by virtue signaling instead of merit. The product declines b/c the new management doesn’t like the old version and generally sees the established brand image and its original consumers as less valuable. The bud light saga encapsulates this. Same for SI who also turned their back on their core consumers.

    Olinser in reply to Valerie. | January 20, 2024 at 7:02 pm

    It wasn’t particularly valuable. It was bought a few years ago for $110 million.

    Dirt cheap for an ESG investment.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

MoeHowardwasright | January 20, 2024 at 6:25 pm

Any publication that puts Martha Stewart in a swimsuit issue deserves their fate. FJB

Gee, who would have thought that foisting transgender propaganda/other woke nonsense and leftist editorial content on your largely apolitical and probably Trump-supporting customer base would end badly? Maybe they can hire the former Bud-Lite executive to resurrect SI? I’m sure there are plenty of soy-boys out there who will buy the new SI!

Well I guess that means we don’t have to look forward to the next Jabba the Hutt swimsuit edition

Conservative Beaner | January 20, 2024 at 6:42 pm

A woke idea from SI
A Swimsuit issue with some guys
Many said oh my my
Now it’s time to say goodbye

Go woke and go broke

It seems that a generational shift has take place in management as the Boomers retire out of the system. The replacements were very ‘liberally educated’ and spent their development years.

a. In a strong and stable economy, where profits permitted experimentation.

b. Very firmly under the collective thumb of their Boomer seniors who, remembering the late 70’s and having become more conservative as they aged knew how to avoid pushing too far too fast.

The newer generation no doubt have their collective corporate heart where they believe it should be – focused as much on social change as on profit, if not more so. Like those who declared “The End Of History” when the Soviet Union fell, they believed that they were in a post-modern society, where the lessons of a thousand years of business were outdated and irrelevant.

However, their social-emphasis-MBA’s should have included that ancient warning: The business of business is business.

    CommoChief in reply to Hodge. | January 21, 2024 at 9:49 am

    In fairness the most persistent group in support of Biden has been those age 65+. That demo voted Biden at about 46% and the polling data consistently show the level hasn’t changed much, that demo still supports Biden at over 42%.

    thalesofmiletus in reply to Hodge. | January 22, 2024 at 1:09 am

    This is what’s known as “not getting the joke”. The Boomers were massive hypocrites, but their pupils took their “bring it all down, man” rhetoric very seriously. Now we’re living through the consequences.


So it turns out dudes don’t want to see other dudes dressed up like women looking all pouty in a bikini?

And they don’t want to see fat chicks shoe-horned into a bikini?

Who could have possibly known?

    Arminius in reply to Paul. | January 21, 2024 at 10:37 pm

    Well, some guys do have a thing for fat girls. But the publications that cater to these tastes are more niche magazines, and are usually found in adult bookstores.

    I grew up in Oakland and worked at a grocery store in high school through community college. I’ll never forget what one of my black coworkers had to say on the subject.

    We’re on break in front of the store. A normal size black dude wanders in with a huge white chick. 350 pounds at least. We aren’t staring or anything, we just turn slightly and continue talking.

    When they’re safely inside he shakes his head and says, “damn, some black guys would f*** a refrigerator as long as it’s white.”

    I was almost late coming back from break; I couldn’t stop laughing.

Derbyshire in 2015, last of the old school staff perhaps:

Second news story: The Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue features, on its cover, a young model in a skimpy bikini, the bottom part of which she is holding down to expose the foothills of the mons veneris.

There has been some minor fuss over this. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation wants retailers to remove the magazine from public display shelves and checkout lines. The cover picture is pornographic, they say.

They have a point, and I personally don’t think the thing should be on open display where kids can see it.

That aside, though, I always wonder who the swimsuit issue is for. I know who it used to be for. It used to be for adolescent boys and lonely adult men to masturbate to. I can’t believe that’s still the case, though.

For one thing, why would any masturbator shell out $4.99 for a still picture of a bikini model when there are action videos of actual sexual congress in every conceivable configuration available for free on YouPorn?

For another thing, my impression is that the rising generation is not very interested in sex. My acquaintance with adolescent boys, admittedly rather limited, suggests to me that they are much too busy playing Call of Duty and watching Game of Thrones to waste time dallying with Mrs Palm and her five lovely daughters.

Among human activities, in fact, sex is losing its market share. This is something of a paradox.

Take out bud lite with them?

Rush used to talk about how sports reporters, in the quest to have some relevance to something other than sports, were the most politically correct of all. “Woke” wasn’t so common a term then.

SI died by suicide. Rush proved right once again.

    TargaGTS in reply to irv. | January 20, 2024 at 8:49 pm

    Years ago, Charlie Rose interviewed a former editor of the NY Times (the last editor before the paper became completely unreadable). He said that the most liberal reporters always end up in the sports pages because that’s where editors end up burying the writers who can’t even feign impartiality.

Booting 100% of staff is a great way to start. Now give it 6 months and start interviewing for new ones.

Need we tell you what questions to ask?

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Gosport. | January 20, 2024 at 9:08 pm

    That is a possibility, but perhaps it would be more of an object lesson to any other “woke” executives that there may be consequences for their actions.

    Subotai Bahadur

    henrybowman in reply to Gosport. | January 20, 2024 at 11:19 pm

    Save time and just let the metal detector ask the questions.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Gosport. | January 20, 2024 at 11:55 pm

    They’ve already generated articles via AI….why hire staff? People are expensive and there’s no subscriber base to cover the expense.

AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | January 20, 2024 at 7:55 pm

Sports. Usually portrayed as young athletes at the prime of their life, physically fit, dealing with the “thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”

A lifetime of weight lifting, running, honing athletic skills for skating, football, soccer, baseball, gymnastics, skiing, swimming, and much more.

Yet, a magazine dedicated to sports willingly places those who are not physically fit, those who are well beyond the age of physical competition, more along the lines of pool therapy than butterfly strokes and individual medley.

Obese women, mentally deficient men who demand to be considered women, geriatric women all being portrayed as the epitome of mental and physical health.

Sports Illustrated, you deserve to be destroyed, and your perverted employees out of jobs.

I was forced to watch CBS morning show with my better half.. They brought up the SI layoffs, but never once mentioned the trans guy on the swimsuit issue.
That was today,,, unbelievable.

    henrybowman in reply to amwick. | January 20, 2024 at 11:22 pm

    Because merely to mention it — much less imply any sort of causation — would have made them the transphobes.
    The Emperor is dressed, dammit!

The reality is printed media is dying. Could SI have survived a bit longer if it hadn’t embraced the far left narrative after being sold by Time in 2018? Maybe a bit longer. But, I suspect what happened today was always going to be inevitable. I say goodbye and good riddance to traditional media. I don’t know what’s coming next. But, it can’t be worse.

    puhiawa in reply to TargaGTS. | January 20, 2024 at 9:10 pm

    Maybe. I get a variety of magazine subscriptions to electronic media via my Prime account. Among the more specialized magazines regarding history, a wonderful assortment of science fiction magazines and such, i get Reader’s Digest which is still a good way to pass time at an airport or on a plane and Popular Mechanics. The only problem is Popular Mechanics does not have enough ads. When you are dealing with a periodical like that, the ads are part of the experience and can be part of a solution to a tricky problem. I am at the point where I am going to complain that we need more ads in the electronic issue.

      henrybowman in reply to puhiawa. | January 20, 2024 at 11:27 pm

      Coincidental you should mention that. Just today, I passed on a chance to visit the RV seminars in Quartzsite… but I did pull up a list of their presenters on the show’s website, then ended up visiting 20 or so of their websites just to learn more about the interesting devices they were hawking.

    ChrisPeters in reply to TargaGTS. | January 20, 2024 at 10:09 pm

    I’d have to agree.

    The only hope any printed publication has is the production of quality content that readers find indispensable.

    Sports Illustrated acted as if hated its reader audience. Good riddance.

      henrybowman in reply to ChrisPeters. | January 20, 2024 at 11:37 pm

      After Hef’s death, Playboy did exactly the same thing. Discontinued the full frontals and promoted raw feminism. Again, it was exactly as if they decided to hate and punish their long-standing customer base.

      And they collapsed — exactly like any adult (boomer) could have told them they would.

      MajorWood in reply to ChrisPeters. | January 21, 2024 at 6:35 pm

      There is a guy in the UK who has reported that glossy fashion magazines provide excellent protection when used in a stab vest. Production quality saves lives. I’m going to stick with a hardened layer of 22ga steel over the Kevlar inner layer.

SI was read by the white collar, the prep school and college athletes.
More recently, turgid texts of 3,000 words of journalistic vomit shadow playing the athletic inadequacies of the pansy authors are simply too complex for Gen X&Z.
And the athletes and weekend warriors have left the field.
It had no audience.

Sports Illustrated hasn’t been relevant for decades.

    henrybowman in reply to ChrisPeters. | January 20, 2024 at 11:40 pm

    Over the past 15 years, I regularly subscribed to it to leave in my vacation rental because 1) I figured the odds were that a significant number of my guests would follow a sport of some type, and 2) they were giving it away free.

The magazine’s union indicates it will continue to fight for the publication of the magazine…
Cool, get the employees to take out a loan against their union retirement funds and buy the magazine. Then they can run all the perverts on the cove that they want to.
Until the loan comes due.

SI was dying on the vine for over a decade since the internet and their one lifeline was the swimsuit issue. How do you destroy your one remaining value??? It defies common sense that they would be this foolish by accident.

Now that Elon heads up the X, #learntocode should make a come back.

Presentation and intention have much to with sexuality. A girl needs to be an actual female, for my preferences.

I don’t like makeup or eye stuff though a tasteful and tasty lip gloss can be delicious.

Postpartum body changes are ordinary and an interested woman does not let them inhibit the fullness of her being.

Pretend girls are about as interesting as Al-Gore’s “luck” and big bankbook

“Fun fact: Back in the early 1990’s, I would buy the swimsuit edition to determine what swimsuit I would purchase for that summer’s beachwear.“

Come on, Leslie. Let’s see a photo, you tease! ; )

Old women, fat women, men who play being a woman, muslim women in a full body suit including head covering. I’m surprised they went under as all of that is surely better to look at than Ella.

E Howard Hunt | January 21, 2024 at 8:39 am

Where must I now turn to see Martha Stewart in a bikini?

    AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to E Howard Hunt. | January 21, 2024 at 9:01 am

    I am sure the internet is full of photos of Martha Stewart and other geriatric has been models. There are probably lots of photos of men pretending to be women, and obese women who are portrayed as healthy and fit.

    In fact, with lots of makeup, lighting, cutting and pasting, and photoshop, Martha Stewart can look 40 years younger, a 50 yo truck driver can look like a 25 yo woman, and a 350 pound woman can be portrayed as the epitome of health and beauty.

    And before all the haters comment about fat shaming, homophobia, and other isms, I am not trying to pass myself off as anything other than what I am. No pretenses, no lies, no fabrications.

    There are websites for that, my friend. It gets pretty grim, though so don’t eat before the visit

    henrybowman in reply to E Howard Hunt. | January 21, 2024 at 11:14 pm


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Alissa Heinerscheid. She was the advertising exec AB Inbev put in charge of the Bud Light campaign. As far as I was concerned she was the real problem, along with the rest of the brain trust at AB Inbev. You can look at an interview she gave on YouTube.

Throughout she makes it clear she doesn’t like Bud Light’s traditional customer base. Oh, not in so many words; she pretended she was criticizing the advertising when she called it a “hangover (not a positive choice of words), ” fratty” (NOT a core customer base), and “out of touch. ”

My first reaction was, “hey, I liked Spuds Mackenzie and the Real Men of Genius commercials.” Then I realized she wasn’t really talking about the commercials, she was talking about me.

The more she talked the more apparent it became she didn’t think her job was about selling beer. Her job existed to make her happy while getting paid bushels of cash, and what made her happy was virtue signalling to her woke wannabe in-group who would then love and appreciate her.

The lie she kept telling herself was that BS would somehow magically result in beer sales instead of cratering the brand.

I suspect the same mental masturbation was going on at SI. And is going in a lot of other industries, most notably entertainment. Their marketing strategy seems to be produce a crap product, particularly movies, because they have no ideas and can’t write a decent character or script even if they could squeeze out an idea. BUT, make all the remakes with women replacing men as the protagonists or trans the characters, then berate the audience as misogynist and every fake phobe in their dictionary of New Speak.

Yeah, they’re not the problem, they can convince themselves. We are.

I can hardly wait until they cast Megan Rapinoe, pink haired America Lesbian “pro” soccer player who nobody wanted to watch play (her “pro” team lost a scrimmage game to an UNDER 15 boys team here in Dallas) as the next James Bond. Imagine angry woke lectures. Fun, fun, fun.

    henrybowman in reply to Arminius. | January 22, 2024 at 5:46 pm

    “Her job existed to make her happy while getting paid bushels of cash”
    Bingo. This is the new “work experience” of socially-promoted wokesters.

    Read an article a couple months ago… can’t find it to save my life, but it was all about the current generation of new employees who were incapable of the jobs they were hired for. Instead, they insisted that their responsibilities (made up entirely by themselves) were primarily to boost the morales of everyone else on their team (“bring the energy”), deal out fatuous compliments to fellow employees for their great ideas, and just basically cheerlead by congratulating everybody for how great everything was going (no thanks to themselves).

    This is really the job description of three similar ypes of parasites:
    1. The suck-up aide, as played many times expertly by David Spade;
    2. Tik-Tok/YouTube/Instagram “influencers”;
    3. Politicians.

Angry America hating lesbian.

That’s what I meant to write.