Sports Illustrated, after going woke, now broke

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Sports Illustrated announced on Friday that its laying off most, if not all, of its union-represented staff. The notice came from the magazine’s union members who shared it on social media.

The Sports Illustrated Union and The NewsGuild of New York announced in a joint statement that employees were notified on Friday that the Arena Group, publisher of Sports Illustrated, “is planning to lay off a significant number, possibly all, of the Guild-represented workers at SI.”

Arena Group said in a regulatory filing that it had missed a payment to Authentic Brands Group on the license to operate Sports Illustrated, once the preeminent source for sports journalism, and thus had lost the license to publish.

In a post on X/Twitter, the unions wrote, “”This is another difficult day in what has been a difficult four years for Sports Illustrated under Arena Group (previously The Maven) stewardship. We are calling 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.”

Last year, the magazine was embroiled in scandal after it became known that it was using artificial intelligence to produce some of its stories, under the names of fake writers.

In December, CEO Ross Levinsohn was fired by The Arena Group’s board of directors. Also fired was Operations President and Chief Operating Officer Andrew Kraft, Media President Rob Barrett, and the corporation’s counsel, Julie Fenster.

Photo credits: Sports Illustrated

The magazines, published since 1954, also lost sight of its main audience when it put a photo of a transgender on the cover for its swimsuit edition, starting with Leyna Bloom in 2021 and Kim Petras in 2023, and also started using clinically obese models in swimsuits in its annual world-famous swimsuit edition, which has been published since 1964. All this was reminiscent of the Bud Light transgender marketing faux pas — an effort to be more in line with “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” goals. The cover of the 2022 swimsuit edition featured a heavy-set model.

58 COMMENTS

  1. I guess DEI should now be renamed: Diversity, Equity and Implosion… which is exactly what happens when brands abandon their consumer base…

  2. Well gee…who didn’t see that coming? Getting swallowed up by the corporate machine, losing all journalistic integrity, then going woke on top of it all? The tables are finally, if slowly, being turned back to the American ideal…the American people have spoken and said, “enough is enough, it is time to take our country back”.

      • considering those that truly live up to freedom get called a billion -isms and ostracized by not supporting people pushing DEI with their hard earned money…

        yeah, let’s go back, at least shizz worked back then.

  3. A warning to other publishers and merchants. Lose sight of your customers and loose your business. Reminiscent of Biden attempting to force electric vehicles on consumers. Of course. the risk to Biden and his ilk is different because they do it with other people’s money.

  4. Another one bites the dust. Liberals trying to show Americans what they should like and what they should be. Rejected!
    Sports Illustrated was always been geared for male readers. Clearly, most men aren’t interested in looking at trannies and obese women in bathing suits, especially on a magazine cover that is geared for power sports and well-built bodies.
    SI publishers and editors were abject fools.

  5. Good! Actions have consequences. You are so out of touch with everyday Americans. We boycott each and every company that goes woke. We live our values and morals, even though Christianity is a dirty word anymore.

  6. The only remaining sports that don’t lead to stress from the new age are the local and family teams in my small town. As long as we are still allowed to have that, it should be held sacred. Not much money in it, so it should be fine.

  7. Good! This nonsense needs to stop anyway by putting biological males in as females. You know the audience? The REAL men out there who liked to look at a beautiful girl in a swim suit? They HATE these Trans things and are tired of it too!
    What man wants to look at what he thinks is a pretty girl only to find out it’s really a man?
    All places that embrace this crap need to go the way of the horse and buggy… AWAY!

  8. I say, just let these alphabet woke idiots do their thing. They underestimate how much We the People will tolerate! 😂😂😂🤪

  9. “Forsake your folly and live, And proceed in the way of understanding.”

    Just because of some men like overweight women and some women struggle with her self image being bigger or fatter. Doesn’t mean the world will change to flatter and accommodate the obesity.
    You think Queen Esther and the other young women would been chosen if any one of them were fat or big? The world always liked smaller women with pretty faces as one character from movie National Velvet had a line written for him, “you girls have their faces your fortune.”
    Furthermore the camera doesn’t lie and makes its subject appear bigger than reality. So models must be smaller cause the focus is selling what they are wearing for the designer and the crew. It has to look good to make the sale for continue the jobs.

  10. Now the people to suffer is the everyday employees behind sports illustrated. The faces one never sees. The ones who aren’t earning a 6-figure salary. The do the little publication, computer, admin work to produce the magazine.

  11. Go woke go broke. Magazines, like most other print publications, are on the way out. Wokeness and DEI are just speeding up the process.

    • The “Go Woke Go Broke” is a myth. Guess how much the gender challenging movie “Barbie” grossed?

      C’mon guess.

      1.4 BILLION dollars.

      • So a lot of people did not listen or hear it was a movie like this, so again nobody accepts your illness, mentally ill they need help and we are not helping by making it seem it’s ok.sorry you are sick I hope you will get better!

      • Bud, Disney, Gillette, the movie industry writ large and common sense disagree with you.

        Plus you seem to lack a grasp on how marketing works, so there’s that, too.

        Additionally, you seem to not understand the concept of gender challenging as well.

        It was a marginal try, but destined to fall flat.

      • Pointing out the exception does not disprove the rule.
        Thanks for playing though.

        And, the question is: How much would Barbie had made if it was not a woke train wreck?

        • My guess is it would have done ok. It was a very carefully targeted movie at a very specific audience Hollywood has ignored for a long time.

          Even liberal girls are tried of transgender girlboss Mary Sues.

  12. In 1987, S.I. published an article warning about global warming, predicting natural disasters, and the San Francisco Giants relocating to Anchorage in the year 2020. After that, I knew they had gone full on lib, so I canceled my subscription.

  13. They made 80% of their money with the swimsuit edition. Of the last three editions, two featured trannies on the cover and the other one an obese girl. What guy is going to spend money for that? What is wrong with these idiots?

    • Don’t think so, but don’t deny the decline of interest in anything manly by soyboys.

      I think it’s also a heavy does of years of poor writing and political hot takes thinly disguised as sports reporting caught up to them.

      • Well, I hardly consider myself a “soyboy”, but sports have always held as much interest for me as medieval Sanskrit transgender poetry.
        Which is to say, none at all.

        • To each their own. I’ve been a multisport athlete most of my life and have always enjoyed it. But I’d be fascinated to see medieval Sanskrit trans poetry. Kinda like the bearded lady at the circus. Fascinating in a morbid sort of way.

          Somehow I don’t see you as a makeup wearing, bun sporting, latte sipping, emasculated man more concerned about the environment than personal freedom. So unless I’m wrong you aren’t anywhere near soyboy

  14. I was a lifelong subscriber until they put Kaitlin Jenner on the cover. I think with all of the DEI nonsense, they fail to mention the mental illness that is apparent and instead try to celebrate said mental illness and then try to pass it off as “normal “. I feel sorry for transgenders and hope they get the help that they clearly need. SI was once a great sports magazine. I miss the great content they used to provide.

  15. The “Go Woke Go Broke” is a myth. Guess how much the gender challenging movie “Barbie” grossed?

    C’mon guess.

    1.4 BILLION dollars.

  16. I think the model on the 2022 edition (the photo above) is very beautiful. Her size is indicative of real women…and not of fantasy.

    • Calvin, “real women” don’t weigh 200 lbs but “real fat women”, like the one you are referencing, do. She may be beautiful to you, and that is certainly your right, but she needs to lose about 80 lbs by exercising and laying off the cheetos to fall in line with most guy’s standards.

    • Good for you Calvin. Different people, different tastes.
      .
      However, the issue is not the model selected. It is the complete and total lack of awareness on the part of the SI staff. (Same thing when director of marketing for Bud Light said they were not interested in selling to the frat boys anymore.)
      The overwhelming majority of SI readers are not interested in fat chicks, or climate change, or DIE issues. They want to read about sports, and when the swimsuit issue comes out, look at pictures of women they would never have a shot of bedding.
      .
      Consider what would happen if McDonalds declared they were no longer going to sell burgers and focus on salads instead. What if Baskin Robins decided everyone needed to lose weight, so no more sugar in their ice cream.
      .
      that is the problem. Not a model, and certainly not whether your average man finds them attractive or not. It is the thumb in the eye of their average reader.

      • Good point. I am quite overweight (never thin but had been firm with great breasts and legs until a severe leg injury prevented most physical aerobics) and even I don’t want to see cover models at either extreme – very obese or anorexic / anemic looking. I am sick of freaks (men in drag) / “woman-face” being shoved at normal people.

      • I think they were very aware of what they were doing, and why. Most media is overrun with true believers who know in their hearts “ this time it will work” despite evidence to the contrary.

    • Disney is trying to sell a portion of ESPN to the already woke NFL.

      Short of the complete collapse a cable sand streaming, ESPN probably isn’t going anywhere.

  17. It’s notable that SI could go TU at a time when the urban sports of baseball, football and basketball have more money, both at the professional and the collegiate levels, than at any earlier time. This is a time of more sports gambling, more of everything related to those urban sports, and to include golf, soccer and a few other mainstream sports so SI has to have made huge mistakes. Clearly SI didn’t understand the business it was in and it didn’t know its market. It’s a lesson for all industries and all businesses.

    In an era time I stayed in Alaska logging camps after the fall shutdown pulling wrenches in the shop, applying for rafting ground permits, putting in backlines using skis and snowshoes, etc. through the winter. I was single, and if anyone in town had put that 2022 edition woman on a floatplane for me I would have been entirely grateful. Winters were colder then BTW.

  18. Thank you for pointing out the comparison to Bud Light as this is exactly the same situation. Some woke marketing executive thought it would be a great idea to put a dude on the cover of the swimsuit issue of a magazine that is almost 100% read by straight males. Most stories I have read about SI’s downfall blame the private equity company that owns them. The blame falls squarely on the staff that made these terrible marketing decisions – although one could partially fault the PE firm for not firing the person that made them sooner. Go Woke, Go Broke .

    • Correct.
      Most SI readers would be fine with a larger then size 2 woman in the swimsuit issue. They would be fine with some articles about what sports could do to fight climate change. But, instead of selling their readers what they wanted, they instead chose to try and alter their readers feelings about woke crap.

  19. Go work, go broke, indeed. More please. Anyone who has watched this flaming death spiral of political correctness, DEI and ESG and could not predict this would happen is clueless. Can’t wait for more. I for one canceled my SI subscription three years ago. I haven’t watched an NFL game since Kapernick started his anti-American kneeling campaign. I pass on the Super Bowl and do something more meaningful instead. Like organizing my sock drawer. Same goes for the NBA. And Disney+. MLB is moving close to gaining a spot on my list. I’m just one guy, but if everyone did this, the miniscule segment of our population that controls these media outlets and sports franchises and the messaging will dry up and blow away like the societal turds they are.

  20. “I’m just one guy, but if everyone did this, the miniscule segment of our population that controls these media outlets and sports franchises and the messaging will dry up and blow away like the societal turds they are.”
    .
    Unfortunately, not enough people are willing to keep up the pressure. Target does some stupid woke BS, and their sales drop by 20% for… well… all of a month. Even Bud Light is seeing more and more sales every week.
    .
    In this world, all you need to do after you F-up is wait a few months, or get a celebrity to endorse your product (Payton Manning… I am looking your way…) and everyone forgets. I hate to say it, but money talks. If SI goes belly up, they were likely to have done so anyway. Seriously, not enough people get printed magazines any more. Not worth it, and there is a LOT more sports news out there, immediately available. Why wait for the next issue?
    .
    Now, the real issue here is not SI going belly up. It is why SI went belly up. They poked a thumb into the eye of their primary market. The average SI reader wants to go to a sports bar, not a GMO Free vegan restaurant. They want to BBQ over coals, not use a solar oven. They want to see chick they would never have a chance in hell of getting wearing bikinis, not dudes “tucking” their packages. Bud Light did not lose a ton of money because they put some dude that is pantomiming as a teenage girl on as a spokesperson. They lost it because the director of marketing said she was not interest in selling to the frat boy market any more. Ignoring that the frat boy market is nearly 100% of Bud Light consumers.
    .
    Had SI decided to improve their magazine, and focus on their core readers, they would likely not be making this decision now. But, nope. They decided that what their core readers wanted was not important. Instead of providing a product their customer wanted, they chose to try and alter their customer’s thinking.

  21. The inevitable result of catering to an obnoxiously loud micro-minority, who are whining about not getting the same presence/airtime, etc. as a massively overwhelming money-spending majority.

    Business 101.
    Do: Sell to your customers, what they’d like to buy (and in this case, customers who have decades of history buying) Don’t: Push a product down the throats of your customers they’re not asking for. (Smart customers who know it’s only to satisfy your own need to feel good about pandering to the whiners or to bump support of your own “completely immaterial to the success of the business”, agenda.)

  22. Nationwide, it’s time we stopped letting 1-5% of the public speak for, represent or dictate to the remaining bulk of the citizens. We are seeing minor percentage groups dominate the narrative and drive subversive agendas. It time to just say NO to the crazy initiatives being pushed down are throats!!!!

    Take back YOUR city….start with keeping guys out of the girl’s bathroom and locker rooms!!!!

    • Are you taking about the hypocritical Moms For Liberty or torch bearing loudmouths at school board meetings? THAT 1-5%?

  23. The cover was one thing, then less issues with a price hike, then The Agenda being forced into to articles, then the articles being written by a computer, then inclusion of lesser sports and lesser athletes, then the removal of famous athletes that didn’t bring the message, then the refusal of ads from unworthy sponsors, then it was no longer a sports magazine any more. Torn down from within by leftist pinko communists & useful idiots. I have had a subscription for almost 30 years, and I saw the slow decline and the Message take over a once great magazine. I still have a year left of subscription and may never get another copy . Maybe subscribers like me should sue the publisher and demand a decent magazine in return. Simply put someone in charge that knows Dei is false and the Message is for brain dead hippies. Thanks for your time.

  24. It never ceases to amaze me how Libtards ruin everything they get involved with by pushing their woke ideology. The failure of Sports Illustrated is just another example. Sadly, there will be more to come.

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