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June 14, 2024

Sports Illustrated’s Print Edition to Continue Under New Operator

Business|A New Chapter for Sports Illustrated, With Plans to Keep Print




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Minute Media, owner of The Players’ Tribune, has struck a deal to operate Sports Illustrated for at least 10 years.

Sports Illustrated magazine will continue to publish under a new licensing deal.Credit…John Taggart for The New York Times

The owner of Sports Illustrated said it had chosen a new company to publish the magazine, a deal that could settle some of the recent friction at the storied publication and continue the print edition.

Authentic Brands Group, which owns the intellectual property rights to Sports Illustrated as well as to celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali, said it had struck a long-term deal to license Sports Illustrated’s publishing rights to Minute Media, a digital-media company focused on sports.

Minute Media’s license with Sports Illustrated will stretch for 10 years with an option to extend for up to 30 years total, into the magazine’s centenary. Both companies expect the deal, which also includes Sports Illustrated’s Swim brand, to last for the full 30-year term. The companies declined to disclose financial terms but said that Authentic Brands Group was taking a stake in Minute Media as part of the deal.

The deal is a significant expansion for Minute Media, a New York-based company founded in 2011 whose holdings — which include the sports websites The Players’ Tribune and Fansided — generate more than $400 million in revenue annually.

Sports Illustrated has been engulfed in turmoil for months, the result of a corporate tug of war between the company that owns the iconic magazine and the energy drink mogul whose executives have been running it. The agreement begins immediately and effectively wrests Sports Illustrated’s operations away from Arena Group, the digital-media company that has run the magazine since 2019 and threatened to end its print edition.

A spokesman for Arena Group said the company had been informed of the deal with the new licensee and had no other details.

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