Sports Illustrated Erecting a Paywall

It’s been a while since we wrote about the Sports Illustrated saga, but the once-famous media outlet revealed that it’s going behind a paywall.

An explanation from their website:

SI.com—which in January drew its largest monthly audience ever—launched in 1997. So, why a paywall now? Because the internet has changed, and savvy media consumers know that quality digital content that’s worth your time is also worth your support. Because a model based solely on advertising exposes our storytelling capabilities to market forces we can’t control. And because we want to build the kind of connection, loyalty and trust with our digital audience we’ve long had with the magazine.

Here’s how it works. Every visitor to SI.com will have an allotment of free articles per month; after that you’ll be asked to subscribe to unlock unlimited access to the Daily Cover and the rest of our premium stories, videos, podcasts and photos. You’ll also have full access to the SI Vault, our magazine archive dating back to that first issue. In addition, subscribers get early access to magazine stories each month, a newsletter with custom features, exclusive content from the best sports journalists in the business and audio versions of select magazine stories. Breaking news posts; content from FanNation, our network of team-specific sites; and SI Swimsuit posts are not metered.

Subscriptions range from $6 to $8 dollars a month, depending on how you want to pay.

Sports Illustrated has been in turmoil for more than a year now. In October of 2019, there was a massive round of layoffs after previous owner Meredith decided to sell to a new company, which licensed the publishing rights to a group called TheMaven. Nearly half of the staff was let go. Then there was another round of cuts in March and a very public spat involving longtime soccer writer Grant Wahl resulted in Wahl being canned without severance. The whole thing was like a slow motion train wreck.

So now we find ourselves in 2021 with SI going behind a paywall. Would you pay for their content? Genuinely curious. There are still some really good writers there, but I wonder if people who are already paying for The Athletic or other journalism subscriptions will also spend their money with SI.

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