Sports Illustrated staff have been braced for a 25% headcount reduction following the transfer of licensing rights for the print and digital editions of the sports bible from Meredith Corporation to The Maven Group earlier this year.
The cost cutting exercise will see 40 positions terminated at the venerable US title in favour of a network of freelancers and bloggers, sparking anger among affected staff who have been pleading with Meredith and Associated Brands Group to step in and prevent the losses. Calls which have thus far gone unheeded.
Instead Meredith is pressing ahead with its plan, telling The Drum in a statement: “Today, Authentic Brands Group officially closed on its transfer of the license to run the media assets of Sports Illustrated from Meredith to The Maven Group.
“As the new licensor of the Sports Illustrated, Maven made the Sports Illustrated personnel decisions that Meredith communicated to the SI employees today. Going forward, the remaining SI employees will work at the direction and at the pleasure of Maven.
“Meredith will handle the payroll and benefits administration through the end of calendar 2019 as part of a transition services agreement with Maven.”