Vice logo A Vice logo.

There’s yet another change ahead at Vice Media. That company started as the Voice of Montreal magazine in 1994, changed its name to Vice in 1996, and went through incredible rounds of expansion across North America, including significant investments in digital verticals such as sports and technology in addition to TV and film studio work, a TV channel, the Vice News division, and an ad agency.

But Vice has seen massive layoffs in recent years. And that’s included largely scrapping those sports and tech verticals. And Thursday saw the remaining employees find out that the site was likely going away and get locked out of their company emails along the way. And then later Thursday, Will Sommer of The Washington Post relayed the official internal memo of shutting down, amidst “several hundred” layoffs:

As noted above, that comes after a day of Vice employees discussing being locked out of emails amidst layoff rumors:

As of 5:30 p.m. ET Thursday, the website was still live, but we’ll see how long that remains the case. It’s clear from the above note from Vice Media CEO Dixon that “we will no longer publish content on,” so their content going forward will be restricted to what’s able to find external partners. And that’s certainly going to impact what Vice covers.

Of course, there’s been a lot leading up to this with Vice. The company filed for bankruptcy last May, with that move coming after a lot of reports they were heading that way. And while many bankruptcies are more reorganizations than outright demolitions, this one had already seen a lot of what people identified with Vice stripped and sold off before now. And yes, there have been lots of strange consultancy moves and executive bonuses before this point.

It’s also notable that while Vice once had an impressive sports vertical, and one that published much of the best freelance sportswriting out there, that’s been largely gone since 2017 cuts (which themselves came less than two years after ESPN parent Disney invested $400 million in Vice). The company has remained somewhat involved in sports through their studios and video arms, especially with wrestling documentary series Dark Side of the Ring (set for its fifth season this spring), but their regular digital coverage of sports has been significantly limited for a while. So most of the current cuts aren’t specifically about sports, but they are certainly part of the dismal media landscape of layoffs we’re seeing at the moment. (However, the announcement here at least includes plans to follow all relevant legislation, which is an improvement over some recent moves.)

We’ll see what’s ahead for Vice. They certainly have found some success with the studio model, where they produce content and others pay to distribute it. But that was only covering a small portion of the content they were putting out. And the layoffs of “several hundred” people here suggest they’re reducing their ambitions significantly. It will be interesting to watch where they go from here.

[Will Sommer on Twitter/X]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.