Sports Illustrated Secures New Publisher in Minute Media

Minute Media has obtained the publishing rights for Sports Illustrated from owner Authentic Brands Group (ABG) after a tumultuous few months for the legacy sports publication.

The home of The Players’ Tribune, FanSided, 90min, and other publications, Minute Media will oversee all digital and print editorial operations across the Sports Illustrated portfolio, entering into a long-term partnership with ABG.

According to the New York Times, which first reported the licensing deal on Monday, the partnership will stretch for 10 years with an option to extend for up to 30 years total.

The Times also reports that the chief executive of Minute Media Asaf Peled is aiming to continue the print edition of Sports Illustrated, as well as hire back some of the former staff who were laid off recently.

“Sports Illustrated is the gold standard for sports journalism and has been for nearly 70 years across both print and digital media. The weight and power of that distinction cannot be understated,” Peled said in a statement to TheWrap. “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.”

Daniel W. Dienst, Authentic’s Executive Vice Chairman, Tactical Ops, added, “In Minute Media we have found a partner that will honor SI’s lauded legacy and exceed fan expectations for the future. As Minute Media shepherds the SI brand across a rapidly evolving media landscape, our priority at Authentic is – and has always been – to protect its journalistic integrity and longevity. Minute Media has successfully proven that they are leading the way in a new era of sports storytelling, and we are excited and optimistic about this partnership and the future of Sports Illustrated as the preeminent lens into sport.”

As part of the deal, ABG will be acquiring an unknown equity stake in Minute Media.

In January, The Arena Group, which operated the magazine since 2019, had its license revoked from ABG. The group laid off all editorial staffers and said that the print version of the magazine would no longer be published.

This new deal with Minute Media reverses course and removes The Arena Group from the publication of the magazine.

Additionally, Minute Media’s deal also includes SI Swim, after The Arena Group said it would shutter and be “handed back” to ABG.

The Sports Illustrated Union responded to the licensing agreement in a statement saying, “Minute Media, we’re ready to work.”

With the news of the deal, “SI’s unionized journalists say they welcome the change and look forward to remaining part of the storied brand’s future,” the statement continued.

“We have said from the start that our top priorities are to keep Sports Illustrated alive, uphold the legacy of the institution and protect our union jobs. We look forward to discussing a future with Minute Media that does that,” staff writer for SI and vice chair for the SI Union Emma Baccellieri said in a statement.

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