Sports Illustrated finds a lifeline, will continue to publish after all

Like the most dramatic finish of any sporting event, Sports Illustrated has managed to stay alive when it appeared all hope was gone.

The venerable magazine will continue to publish after Authentic Brands Group, which owns the magazine’s intellectual property rights, announced a deal with a new publisher.

Minute Media, which is also home to sports content providers The Players’ Tribune and FanSided, will take over both the print and digital operations of SI. The company says it will work to retain most of the current staff of the publication, as well as rehire some of the staffers who were laid off in the past few months, CNN reports.

Sports Illustrated’s fate has been murky since the start of the year. The Arena Group, which had published the magazine for the past five years, stopped paying Authentic its publishing rights licensing fee in January and told staffers that virtually all of them would be laid off. That came months after the company was accused of publishing articles that were written by AI and attributed to reporters who did not exist.

Ross Levinsohn, CEO of Arena Group, was fired weeks after those accusations surfaced, as were three other executives.

“Sports Illustrated is the gold standard for sports journalism and has been for nearly 70 years across both print and digital media,” said Asaf Peled, founder and CEO of Minute Media. “The weight and power of that distinction cannot be overstated. At Minute Media, our focus will be to take that legacy into new, emerging channels enhancing visibility, commercial viability and sustainable impact, all while ensuring that the SI team is inspired to flourish in this new era of media.”

As part of the deal, Authentic will also acquire an equity stake in Minute Media.

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