Get Woke, Go Broke: Mass Layoffs At Sports Illustrated After Publisher Loses License

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jan 21, 2024 - 06:25 PM

Sports Illustrated rights holder Arena Group has had its license to publish the magazine revoked by Authentic Brands Group after inability to make $3.75 million quarterly payment at the end of 2023.  In other words, the publisher likely isn't bringing in enough profit to maintain the brand.  Under contract, Arena Group is required to pay another $45 million to ABG because of the loss of the license.  As a result, Sports Illustrated has been forced to layoff their entire staff while discussions are underway to salvage the arrangement. 

In a statement, Sports Illustrated Union and The NewsGuild of New York vowed to “fight for every one of our colleagues.”   But how could this have happened?  One of the oldest and best known names in sports commentary is now essentially defunct.

The signs were all there.

The shutdown takes place only thee years after the company committed to major layoffs in 2020 back when they were run by Maven, shaving $27 million from their costs compared to 2018.  Apparently, this wasn't enough and ownership was acquired by Arena Group.  In November of 2023, SI was caught using fake journalists and AI generated content, further indicating that they were on the verge of going broke. 

The true cause will be conveniently ignored by the corporate media, but the woes of Sports Illustrated began directly after they tied the publication to woke messaging.  For example, the magazine began parading plus-sized (fat positivity) models in their sponsored runway shows and swimsuit additions in 2017.  For a publication that is supposed to be focused on athletic excellence, the idea of fat positivity is an obvious anathema for their core readership.  People who are incapable of athleticism in most arenas should not be used as representatives of the sporting world (or the pinnacle of beauty, for that matter).  

The company then latched onto the feminist “equal pay” movement for women's sports, arguing that female athletes and clubs should be offered pay equal to male sports.  The movement completely ignored the key factors of audience interest; male athletes tend to make more money because far more people are interested in watching men's sports. 

Sports Illustrated also began featuring transgender women (men dressed as women) in their women's swimsuit editions, perpetuating the gender fluid ideology.  This led to a conservative boycott of the magazine in 2023, and now, here they are, out of business.

The carnage falling upon woke companies in the past couple years has been relentless.  Numerous Big Tech and entertainment platforms are suffering a string of layoffs and budget cuts and no one in the mainstream wants to acknowledge that the wokification of the corporate world is a primary contributor to their downfall. 

The bottom line? The vast majority of American consumers do not want woke content and will not pay for it.  Furthermore, the people that do want this kind of content are usually activists with no money to spend. 

Despite this reality, companies continue to embrace far-left ideology and promote it through their products and marketing to their own detriment.  This explains why the political left has been so hostile to free markets and the notion of catering to consumers – In a free market people can always walk away from woke businesses.  It doesn't matter how much they saturate media with propaganda, all people have to do is not open their wallets.    

In a socialist or ESG-based world, such companies would be fully supported by governments and tax dollars.  In other words, you would be forced to pay for the transgender swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, whether you want to or not.  For now, thankfully, “Get Woke, Go Broke” is still a rule that widely applies.