Mass layoffs expected at Sports Illustrated after publisher misses payment

Friday's reported mass layoffs is the latest chapter in a "difficult four years for Sports Illustrated under Arena Group stewardship," the publication's union said on X. File Photo by Gary I. Rothstein/UPI

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Sports Illustrated's publisher is laying off "possibly all" of the magazine's staff after failing to pay the parent company, according to a statement from the brand's union.

The Sports Illustrated Union posted a statement on X Friday that the brand's publisher, The Arena Group, is planning to lay off "a significant number, possibly all" of the union-represented workers.

The mass layoffs came as a result of Sports Illustrated's brand owner Authentic Brands Group revoking The Arena Group's right to publish after its missed a quarterly payment of about $3.75 million.

"This is another difficult day in what has been a difficult four years for Sports Illustrated under Arena Group (previously The Maven) stewardship," the statement read. "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."

The Arena Group said some of the workers would be terminated immediately, while others will continue working through the notice period legally required of employers. All employees will get severance pay.

Authentic Brands Group acquires Sports Illustrated in 2018 and licensed its publishing rights to Arena Group in 2019 under a 10-year agreement.