Mar 18, 2024 - Business

Minute Media strikes deal to publish Sports Illustrated

October 16, 1972 Sports Illustrated cover and signed limited edition Wilt Chamberlain sports porcelain figurine on display during the press preview at Sotheby's Auction House on August 01, 2023 in Los Angeles, California

An October 1972 Sports Illustrated cover and signed limited edition Wilt Chamberlain sports porcelain figurine on display during the press preview at Sotheby's Auction House on Aug. 1, 2023, in Los Angeles. Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images.

Minute Media, a sports-focused digital media publisher, has reached a 10-year licensing deal for digital and print rights to publish Sports Illustrated.

Why it matters: The deal puts an end to a tumultuous two months that had left the fate of the venerated sports outlet up in the air.

Zoom in: Financial terms were not disclosed, but Sports Illustrated's owner Authentic Brands Group will take a stake in Minute Media, per a press release Monday.

  • Minute Media obtaining print rights signals a desire to maintain SI's print edition.
  • The deal could be extended to 30 years, which would take the magazine through its centenary, Axios has confirmed.
  • The deal is a significant move for Minute Media, which is best known for owning websites including The Players' Tribune, FanSided and 90min.

Catch up quick: The Arena Group, a publicly traded digital holding company, acquired the rights to publish Sports Illustrated from Authentic Brands Group in 2019.

  • Those rights became available in January after the Arena Group failed to pay Authentic. Most of Sports Illustrated's unionized staff were laid off following the announcement.
  • The union representing SI's editorial workers filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Arena Group, accusing the company of "discharging employees because of their support of the union, engagement in union activities and engagement in other protected activities."
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