The future of the American sports magazine Sports Illustrated seems more nebulous than ever after laying off most of its employees on Friday.
Its publisher, The Arena Group, took out the ax again the day after an announcement confirming around a hundred job cuts.
According to the website Front Office Sports, the publisher in question's failure to pay $3.75 million to SI's parent company, Authentic, may have led to the decision that could spell the death knell. This magazine first appeared 1954.
The departure of workers is linked to the termination of Arena's contract for print and digital production; This 10-year deal was signed in 2019, the year Authentic acquired the Sports Illustrated intellectual property.
According to Front Office Sports, the exact number of layoffs has yet to be clarified as there remains “great confusion” on the topic. However, employees who spoke to this source on condition of anonymity said the ax will be profound.
In addition, as some of their colleagues suggested, members of the union in question will receive 90 days' notice, while the withdrawal of non-union workers is already effective.
Financially in the red, Sports Illustrated expressed many doubts when information appeared on the Futurism website in November that the magazine was using artificial intelligence to produce text without informing the public. The latter was also completely deceived by fake journalists – identified by seemingly authentic names, photos and biographies – who were in fact robots.
When asked to justify the deception, Arena big boss Manoj Bhargava responded to the union members by saying, “No one is important. I'm not either. […] The amount of unnecessary work you do is staggering.