Sports Illustrated’s Print Edition to Continue Under New Operator

Sports Illustrated’s Print Edition Secures Future with New Management Team

The company behind Sports Illustrated has announced a partnership with a new publisher, aiming to smooth over recent tensions and ensure the magazine’s continued presence in print.

Authentic Brands Group, the owner of Sports Illustrated’s intellectual property, along with famous names like Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali, has entered into a long-term agreement with Minute Media. This digital media company specializes in sports content.

This partnership, which grants Minute Media the publishing rights to Sports Illustrated, is set to last for 10 years, with the possibility of extending up to 30 years, potentially celebrating the magazine’s 100th anniversary. Although the financial details remain private, it’s known that Authentic Brands Group will become a stakeholder in Minute Media as part of the arrangement.

For Minute Media, a company established in New York in 2011, this deal marks a significant growth. Its portfolio, including sports websites The Players’ Tribune and Fansided, already generates over $400 million in revenue each year.

This agreement comes at a crucial time for Sports Illustrated, which has been caught in a struggle between its owning company and the executives of an energy drink mogul, leading to uncertainty about the magazine’s future. The deal, effective immediately, shifts control of Sports Illustrated from Arena Group, which has managed the magazine since 2019 and had considered discontinuing its print edition.

This marks a fresh start for Sports Illustrated, first published in 1954. Asaf Peled, Minute Media’s CEO, expressed his commitment to maintaining the print edition of the magazine.

Peled highlighted the challenge and importance of building and nurturing a brand in the digital age. He emphasized the value of working with and enhancing an iconic brand like Sports Illustrated.

Under this new partnership, Minute Media plans to take Sports Illustrated global and rehire some employees laid off by Arena Group. The exact number of returning employees will be determined as the company begins its operations.

Peled also shared that Minute Media focuses on creating short-form sports content for mobile consumption, including videos, audio, and text. The company owns Fansided and Players’ Tribune, platforms that offer sports articles, podcasts, and athlete-authored content. Despite this focus, Peled is keen on continuing Sports Illustrated’s legacy of in-depth journalism.

He acknowledged that this move is somewhat different from their usual strategy but noted it’s not the first time they’ve ventured in this direction.