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Sports Illustrated to avert shutdown as it gets a fresh start under new publisher

New York CNN  —  Sports Illustrated isn’t shutting down, after all. The iconic sports magazine is set to get new life under a publishing deal announced Monday by Authentic Brands Group, which owns the magazine’s intellectual property rights. The news, first reported by The New York Times, caps a tumultuous several months for Sports Illustrated that resulted in widespread layoffs, an artificial intelligence scandal and the departure of senior executives. In January, The Arena Group, which had published Sports Illustrated since 2019, stopped paying Authentic its licensing fee for publishing rights. In return, Authentic pulled Arena’s license to publish the magazine, prompting turmoil at the outlet. At the time, Arena informed staffers that it would lay off most of its employees, throwing the future of Sports Illustrated into jeopardy. But after searching for a new publisher, Authentic has found one in Minute Media, a sports-focused content company that is home to several other notable brands, such as The Players’ Tribune and FanSided. Minute Media said that while it will continue the print edition of the magazine, it hopes to also usher Sports Illustrated into a lucrative digital future. Asaf Peled, founder and chief executive of Minute Media, said in a statement the focus will be taking its 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.” “Sports Illustrated is the gold standard for sports journalism and has been for nearly 70 years across both print and digital media,” Peled said. “The weight and power of that distinction cannot be understated.”