SI Tickets CEO David Lane has sought to reassure the market about the operator’s future amid mass layoffs at Sports Illustrated’s print and web operations.
Staff at Sports Illustrated were notified late last week that they were being made redundant, with potential for the entire 100-strong staff to be gone in the next three months. The Arena Group, which runs the editorial operations, has had its licence revoked by Authentic Brands Group (ABG) after missing a scheduled payment. Authentic has already stated that it plans to continue editorial operations, including during a transition to a potential new publishing partner.
Ticketing, sports betting and other SI-branded services are run entirely separately to the flagship editorial operation. Each have their own independent agreements with ABG, which owns the rights to the SI brand.
In a lengthy LinkedIn post, Lane maintained that while editorial services will no longer be run by Arena, “Sports Illustrated is not shutting down.”
Sports Illustrated ‘continuing to grow’
Lane said: “The global Sports Illustrated family, including SI, SI Swimsuit, SI Tickets, SI Sportsbook, Club SI and SI Resorts, is continuing to grow this legendary, 70-year-old brand around the world.
“The value of SI and its importance to millions of fans has never been more visible than in the past few days. Stories and pictures of moments captured by some of the best writers and photographers are being shared around the world. It’s been truly remarkable to observe the emotion evoked by passionate, loyal fans and athletes when they describe what Sports Illustrated has meant to them.
“It has reminded us all of SI’s impact and significance as a truly unparalleled fabric in the tapestry of sports and culture.
“For nearly seven decades, Sports Illustrated has been the most trusted name in sports, and it will continue to be to millions around the world for decades to come.”
SI Tickets launched in 2021 under CEO Lane, who previously held the same position at New York City-based ticket broker Lunatix. While initially focussed solely on the secondary market, SI Tickets has recently signed primary agreements with rights-holders such as US Equestrian and American Flag Football League.