A Sports Illustrated logo from their YouTube page. A Sports Illustrated logo from their YouTube page. (Sports Illustrated on YouTube.)

So far, 2024 has been a year to forget for Sports Illustrated.

In January, the magazine’s publisher, Arena Group missed a $3.75 million quarterly payment to rightsholder Authentic Brands, leading to Arena Group’s publishing license being revoked by Authentic Brands.

In March, Authentic Brands agreed with Minute Media to become the magazine’s new publisher, seemingly ushering in a new era and seemingly clearing up the longtime magazine’s murky future.

The partnership isn’t off to the best start, however. The New York Post reported last week that SI’s May issue did not ever make it to production because Arena refuses to turn over the subscriber list to Minute Media, with Arena Group head Manoj Bhargava reportedly saying the contract doesn’t require him to do that.

A source told the Post that Bhargava may attempt to use the list as leverage in the upcoming lawsuit between Authentic Brands and the Arena Group regarding the termination fee in the remainder of Arena’s contract.

Other negotiating tactics that Bhargava has utilized include threatening to kill the magazine’s print edition entirely and firing 100 employees.

The handover from Arena to Minute Media in late March was immediately met with a website crash and Arena attempting to take the domain name and multiple social media accounts.

This is the first time in SI’s storied history that an issue didn’t make it to print.

[New York Post]