Sports Illustrated’s website briefly shut down amid rocky transition from Arena Group to Minute Media

The migration of Sports Illustrated’s website from Arena Group’s control to the umbrella of Minute Media hit a rocky road on Thursday.

Minute Media acquired the licensing of SI’s editorial content from Authentic Brands Group (ABG) earlier this week after Arena Group, the company controlled by 5 Hour Energy founder Manoj Bhargava, had been embroiled in a battle with ABG over financial terms.

For a brief period on Thursday, the site was shut down.

Sports Illustrated’s website briefly went down on Thursday amid its transition from Arena Group to Minute Media.

In a statement to The Post, an Arena Group spokesperson said the company met with Minute Media on Wednesday and claimed that “Minute Media advised that, since they’re a tech company, they would only need an hour to take over the site. To help ensure the success of the transition, we provided them with 24 hours.”

However, a source with knowledge of Minute Media’s operations told The Post that the company had hoped for a significantly longer transition period between Arena Group and Minute so that the SI site could be migrated over to the latter’s platform.

Instead, there was no baton handoff at all, and Arena Group shut down the website on Thursday night, the source said.

AUGUST 01: October 16, 1972 Sports Illustrated cover and signed limited edition Wilt Chamberlain sports porcelain figurine on display during the press preview at Sotheby’s Auction House on August 01, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images

Minute Media’s tech team was able to relaunch the site relatively quickly, and it is back live.

A Minute Media spokesperson declined to comment to The Post.

Front Office Sports’ A.J. Perez, who first reported on the messiness of the SI transition, wrote on X that two sources told the outlet “that Arena tried (unsuccessfully) to take the domain name back as Minute Media was in the middle of migrating the website to its side on Thursday,” and also that Arena “sought to take over multiple SI social accounts.”

Regarding those claims, the Arena spokesperson referred The Post to the company’s original statement.

ABG purchased Sports Illustrated from Meredith Corp. five years ago for $110 million.

Minute Media is also licensing the SI Swim brand from Authentic Brands Group. Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit

The company manages various SI-branded business endeavors ranging from resorts to the company’s annual Super Bowl party while licensing out the editorial content of the iconic print magazine and website to a third party.

The Post’s Josh Kosman reported that ABG revoked Arena Group’s license after the licensee refused to make a $3.75 million quarterly payment on its $15 million per year contract.

Founded in Israel in 2011, Minute Media’s U.S. sites include the Derek Jeter-founded Players Tribune, Fansided and Mental Floss.

Minute’s licensing of the SI editorial content will include the print magazine and the annual swimsuit issue.

The deal with ABG is for 10 years, which Minute Media has the option to expand to 30.

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