Publisher Ends Employment for Entire Sports Illustrated Team

( – The future of the iconic sports magazine, Sports Illustrated, now hangs in the balance after its publisher laid off the magazine’s entire staff.

The news comes after Arena Group, which operates the entire Sports Illustrated brand, failed to pay $3.75 million to Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which in turn owns the license for the sports glossy. The failure to pay the $3.75 million was a breach of the terms of the licensing agreement between the two parties, causing the agreement to be terminated. The termination could also mean that ABG could be owed an additional $45 million, according to an SEC filing.

A statement released by the Sports Illustrated publisher said that only “some” employees will be terminated immediately and will be entitled to payments based on their union contract. Other employees will be asked to work “through the end of the 90-day notice period,” the publisher added.

The employees’ union, however, isn’t taking the news sitting down and has demanded that the sports magazine continue publication.

In a statement released on social media, the Sports Illustrated Union called on ABG to “ensure the continued publication of SI.” The workers’ union also said that it expects the Arena Group to “honor all the terms of our union contract.”

There have been reports that ABG has contacted its other publications to explore what steps it can take going forward, including the possibility of another publication taking over SI operations from Arena. This also comes weeks after Manoj Bhargava, the founder of 5-Hour Energy, introduced himself to all Arena employees, including those from SI, saying that he would be the organization’s new head.

At this point, it remains to be seen whether ABG will completely terminate Sports Illustrated’s operations and publication for good, take over operations itself, introduce a new publisher, or allow Arena to renegotiate its terms of agreement.

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