Sports Illustrated’s entire staff told they are getting laid off

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By Dan Sears

It is a dark day for sports journalism.

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

A George Mason University fan holds up a Sports Illustrated magazine at a send off for the team, March 29, 2006, in Fairfax, Va
A George Mason fan holds up a Sports Illustrated magazine in 2006. AP

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

It noted, in part, that some employees would be “terminated immediately.”

The decision comes after the Authentic Brands Group, the licensing group that bought Sports Illustrated for $110 million from Meredith five years ago, terminated the agreement it holds with The Arena Group to publish the magazine in print and digital, per Front Office Sports.

“Some employees will be terminated immediately, and paid in lieu of the applicable notice period under the [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.”

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The Arena Group missed a $2.8 million payment that breached the company’s Sports Illustrated licensing deal three weeks ago.

It is unclear whether Authentic will establish a new operator or allow Arena to renegotiate its current deal.

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