UPDATED: SI builds a wall ... now wall crumbles

E5 Yaz

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Sports Illustrated erects a paywall

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.

https://www.si.com/sports-illustrated/2021/02/02/sports-illustrated-next-chapter
 
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nattysez

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Sports Illustrated erects a paywall

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.

https://www.si.com/sports-illustrated/2021/02/02/sports-illustrated-next-chapter
This is like if zombie Deadspin tried to charge for content. You had your chance to do this (and save your company) 5 years ago. You are now closing the door a week after the horse ran out of the barn.

Edited to add: I might subscribe to their site if they threw in a Bluetooth-enabled version of these.
 
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Pablo's TB Lover

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Thank god they non-paywalled the swimsuit issue. The horror if we weren't able to see women in bikinis for free.
They cover up the models with bikinis now? I thought the articles of clothing for were an afterthought long ago...
 

ManicCompression

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They say that January was their busiest month for traffic ever, but it's hard to imagine a more incompetent sequence of events from a management group.

- Let go of all of your best writers and pursue the kind of content that can be replicated by literally anyone
- Put all of your money into Peter King
- Redesign your website to make it absolutely impenetrable
- Watch The Athletic hire all of the great writers that you let go and charge a premium for it
- Continue to pursue ad dollars via what feels like crowd-sourced content
- Drive interest down to a point where people don't even think of Sports Illustrated when they're seeking sports news and analysis
- Create pay-wall

I may be off a little on the sequence of events, but it feels pretty accurate to me. It's a shame because SI used to be where some great writers got their start. Zach Lowe was appointment reading even back then and I used to go to SI all the time. I don't think I've visited in years.
 

tmracht

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Zach Lowe was appointment reading even back then and I used to go to SI all the time. I don't think I've visited in years.
Yep there was a point in time my homepage was si.com. I can't remember the last time I visited the site.
 

bankshot1

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I got a subscription to SI for my bar mitzah in 1964 and kept it for about 20 years. And then would read it in the drs office. From time to time I'd go to the website to look at the old classic covers and renew old times with Christie, Cheryl and Elle.
 

nattysez

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A new low for the corpse of SI. They've been using AI to generate articles and ascribing the articles to invented writers.

But now that it's under the management of The Arena Group, parts of the magazine seem to have devolved into a Potemkin Village in which phony writers are cooked up out of thin air, outfitted with equally bogus biographies and expertise to win readers' trust, and used to pump out AI-generated buying guides that are monetized by affiliate links to products that provide a financial kickback when readers click them.
https://futurism.com/sports-illustrated-ai-generated-writers
 

PedroKsBambino

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I have more faith in Drew Ortiz as a journalist than I do in John Tomase...
 

Whoop-La White

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A far cry from when they assigned Kurt Vonnegut to write about a horse escaping from a track in the middle of a race and after thinking about it for a couple of hours he wrote "the horse jumped over the fucking fence" and walked out.
 

Bigdogx

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:D LMAO at them trying to play it off like they had no idea this was happening, i mean do they really still have even a handful of subscribers today? Hell since covid i don't even see them in doctors or dentist office waiting rooms anymore and i would have to believe that was legit the majority of their sub base imo.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Did their robots make this choice or back to humans?
View: https://twitter.com/SInow/status/1730218207540060439

Coach Prime is here, and he's just getting started Deion Sanders is SI's 2023 Sportsperson of the Year!
This is such a blatant attempt at being edgy and getting peopel to talk about Sports Illustrated. Honestly, I thought that they gave up awarding the SPotY a long time ago. They want the clicks, they want people talking about what a "travesty this is" and how it goes "against everything Sports Illustrated stands for". These people don't give a fuck. They just want your clicks, your likes, your interactions (good and bad) on social media so that they can monetize it. It's so transparently dumb and blatant.

You know who's going to be mad about this? Your uncle. Don't be your uncle.
 

PedroKsBambino

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This is such a blatant attempt at being edgy and getting peopel to talk about Sports Illustrated. Honestly, I thought that they gave up awarding the SPotY a long time ago. They want the clicks, they want people talking about what a "travesty this is" and how it goes "against everything Sports Illustrated stands for". These people don't give a fuck. They just want your clicks, your likes, your interactions (good and bad) on social media so that they can monetize it. It's so transparently dumb and blatant.

You know who's going to be mad about this? Your uncle. Don't be your uncle.
That's a great call---that is precisely what this is and why.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Tony Massarotti and Michael Felger just spent 30 seconds arguing over the SI Sportsperson of the Year.

They couldn’t even muster any real passion for it. They spent more time talking about whether they went shopping on Black Friday.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Tony Massarotti and Michael Felger just spent 30 seconds arguing over the SI Sportsperson of the Year.

They couldn’t even muster any real passion for it. They spent more time talking about whether they went shopping on Black Friday.
PTI discussed it for a few minutes and came up with a good dozen better candidates. They thought the pick was made before the recent losing streak. Pablo Torre was on, but they didn’t go into the AI part, at least not while I was watching.
 

Bigdogx

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PTI discussed it for a few minutes and came up with a good dozen better candidates. They thought the pick was made before the recent losing streak. Pablo Torre was on, but they didn’t go into the AI part, at least not while I was watching.
Probably dont want to discuss how their jobs will soon be taken over by it. It's in it's infant stages right now and the little i have seen of AI is crazy. How and why it was allowed to be created is beyond me but it is going to wreck entire industry's eventually.

I was watching someone on youtube who is planning to open a gym and was using i think the google ai thing trying to make logos and holy fn'ing #@#@ is all i can say. Graphic artist you might all want to start looking at another line of work....
 

ColdSoxPack

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There is a blistering column in today's LA times business section about SI, not about the Prime cover. An excerpt:

First, the facts: On Monday, the tech and culture site Futurism published an expose that revealed Sports Illustrated was publishing bizarre and badly written articles attributed to authors that didn’t exist.
The reporters traced the fake authors’ headshots to a website that sells AI-generated images, and sources told them that the stories they allegedly wrote were produced by AI, too. “The content is absolutely AI-generated,” one said, “no matter how much they say that it’s not.” When contacted, Arena Group, Sports Illustrated’s publisher, deleted all of the suspicious content and, in a statement, denied it was created by AI. Arena blamed the mess on AdVon, a third-party company hired to produce content.

The link if you subscribe:
https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2023-12-01/column-the-depressing-fall-of-sports-illustrated-reveals-the-real-tragedy-of-ai
 

Phil Plantier

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There is a blistering column in today's LA times business section about SI, not about the Prime cover. An excerpt:
Arena blamed the mess on AdVon, a third-party company hired to produce content.
Isn't "we hired someone to produce our content" worse than "we used an AI to write content"?
 

Zedia

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I didn’t pay much attention when this first came out, but it seems like this is “advertorial” type stuff - paid content created to run alongside their actual legit content. They‘re not creating Frank Deford-style feature stories. It’s certainly not great (and the fake bios go way over the line). But I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens on a lot of sites.
 

mauf

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Isn't "we hired someone to produce our content" worse than "we used an AI to write content"?
I didn’t pay much attention when this first came out, but it seems like this is “advertorial” type stuff - paid content created to run alongside their actual legit content. They‘re not creating Frank Deford-style feature stories. It’s certainly not great (and the fake bios go way over the line). But I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens on a lot of sites.
I think the issue here is SI’s agreement with its writers’ union.

From a journalistic ethics standpoint, the key thing with advertorials is to make sure they’re clearly marked as ads. Once you’ve done that, I don’t think it matters much whether the content is produced by some Madison Avenue type, or an out-of-work journalist, or an AI bot. Or some combination of those things — a journalist could crank out a lot more puff pieces with a computer preparing the first draft. But I imagine the work done by the journalist in that case would be union work. Which I suspect is the reason these advertorials were attributed to fake people.
 

soxhop411

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B H Kim

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Aside from Pat Forde and Tom Verducci (who will presumably find other outlets), is there anyone else left at SI who's worth reading?
 

Trlicek's Whip

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Thoughts and prayers to anonymous "keep politics out of my sports" reply guys everywhere, who may be learning that this truism isn't true for the very first time.

76818
 

kenneycb

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It’s neither but that’s not a good meme. SI never adapted to the Internet so their demise was a matter of when, not if. All other decisions, acquisitions, reorgs, etc. just slightly slowed or hastened the march to the inevitable end. I’m hard pressed to believe SI would be in a better spot if they had a strong union. The fundamental business sucked and has sucked for like a decade, and probably longer.
 

joe dokes

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I'm guessing someone near the top is making, or has made, a mint during SI's demise. (I have no information to support this guess; it just always seems to be the case that when a new entity comes in a rides a business to the grave, the entity and its principals get well-compensated for the burial.
 

nattysez

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I'm guessing someone near the top is making, or has made, a mint during SI's demise. (I have no information to support this guess; it just always seems to be the case that when a new entity comes in a rides a business to the grave, the entity and its principals get well-compensated for the burial.
I just don't know if that's the case here. The magazine industry is dying. This isn't Toys r US where a viable business was murdered.

I guess Playboy, if they are still around, will have to pick up the Swimsuit Issue.
Playboy stopped printing a magazine in 2020.
 

kenneycb

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The PE companies do that with newspapers. They’re dying but there’s still a bunch of money to be had by cutting staff to the bone and squeezing money out of existing subscribers and other avenues knowing you’re going to shut it down sooner than later and wipe your hands clean. My guess is it was a similar play here.
 

ManicCompression

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It’s neither but that’s not a good meme. SI never adapted to the Internet so their demise was a matter of when, not if. All other decisions, acquisitions, reorgs, etc. just slightly slowed or hastened the march to the inevitable end. I’m hard pressed to believe SI would be in a better spot if they had a strong union. The fundamental business sucked and has sucked for like a decade, and probably longer
Yeah, you really have to stretch to make this about unionization. The primary problem is that the SI creates shit content and made bad choice after bad choice for years within an industry that’s being totally upended by YouTube and other forms of media. The power of workers uniting is basically useless if there’s no demand for the product.
 

Ale Xander

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Rick Reilly still there to do a final “This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse?”