Sports Illustrated to move much of its NBA content behind paywall

Sports Illustrated 2020-21 NBA Preview issue, featuring the Lakeers' Anthony Davis.

Longstanding publication Sports Illustrated is set to join the behind-a-paywall crowd, as soon as early February, according to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.

It goes without saying that the “premium content” list will include SI.com’s coverage of the NBA. While SI features a number of notable NBA reporters, perhaps none move the needle like veteran journalist Chris Mannix.

Presumably, you will soon need to pay a monthly fee to read Mannix regularly.

“Metered paywalls typically allow readers access to a certain number of articles before they have to subscribe,” McCarthy wrote. “SI has not finalized that number of free articles or a possible subscription price, said sources. But one source said SI hopes to create a model where readers could pay up to $5.99 a month for premium content.”

SI has been fairly chaotic under the ownership of Maven, which took over the once-proud brand in October 2019. It has laid off several prominent writers and editors in its failed attempt to launch team sites.

Many of SI’s contracted NBA team publishers were let go or replaced in October 2020. All had their guaranteed payments removed at that time.

On the bright side, SI hired respected NBA reporter Howard Beck in December. Mannix and Beck form a formidable duo that undoubtedly is worth supporting.

Sports Illustrated began publishing a weekly magazine in August 1954. It still offers 16 issues a year for a subscription fee of $20. The website change to premium content behind a paywall is expected to go into effect Feb. 2, McCarthy wrote.

About the Author

Sam Amico
Sam Amico is the founder and senior writer of FortyEight Minutes. He has covered the NBA on a full-time basis for OutKick, Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, and has been a regular contributor to CBS Sports, the Boston Herald and NBA.com.

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