The Sports Illustrated Union pushed back against news from publisher The Arena Group that layoffs are imminent, saying “It is a fight we will continue.”
According to an email sent to Sports Illustrated staffers, The Arena Group said that on Thursday they were “notified by Authentic Brand Group (ABG) that the license under which the Arena Group operates under the Sports Illustrated (SI) brand and SI related properties has been officially revoked.”
With that, the brand will be undergoing significant job cuts, with The Arena Group saying “we will be laying off staff that work on the SI brand.”
According to a statement from ABG, “The Arena Group’s license to serve as the publisher of Sports Illustrated was terminated as a result of the company’s failure to pay its quarterly license fee despite being given notice of the breach.”
“Authentic is here to ensure that the brand of Sports Illustrated, which includes its editorial arm, continues to thrive as it has for the past nearly 70 years,” the statement continued. “We are confident that going forward the brand will continue to evolve and grow in a way that serves sports news readers, sports fans, and consumers.”
ABG promises that they are committed to “ensuring that the traditional ad-supported Sports Illustrated media pillar has best in class stewardship to preserve the complete integrity of the brand’s legacy.”
In response, the union condemned the layoffs and called 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.”
“We have fought together as a union to maintain the standard of this storied publication that we love, and to make sure our workers are treated fairly for the value they provide to this company. It is a fight we will continue,” NFL editor and unit chair Mitch Goldich said in a statement.
“Workers of Sports Illustrated were notified that The Arena Group is planning to lay off a significant number, possibly all, of the Guild-represented workers at SI,” the union statement continued.
The union noted, “This is another difficult day in what has been a difficult four years for Sports Illustrated under Arena Group (previously The Maven) stewardship.”
“We expect The Arena Group to honor all the terms of our union contract and will fight for every one of our colleagues to be treated fairly,” the union said.
Just last month The Arena Group fired CEO Ross Levinsohn after ongoing fallout over its use of artificial intelligence on the site.
Two of the sites top executives were also fired in the wake of the AI scandal, which saw the publication post AI-generated content credited to fake authors.
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