'Sports Illustrated' Seeks New Revenue Stream Through Metered Paywall

Sports Illustrated has joined the long line of publications that have instituted a metered paywall.  

The magazine last week announced it would now start charging readers to access content at its website: SI.com. Readers can pay $7.99 per month billed monthly, or $5.83 per month billed annually. The first month costs $1. 

Digital subscribers get unlimited access to to SI’s "Daily Cove," articles, videos, podcasts, photos and the SI historical Vault.   

As to why this is happening now, SI stated on its site that a revenue model based solely on advertising “exposes our storytelling capabilities to market forces we can’t control.” 

The development comes as digital revenue has surpassed print for several publishers, including Meredith and The New York Times.  It also occur as SI took a reported hit, due to the decline of live sports during the pandemic. 

SI continues to offer a free email newsletter, SI.Register, that provides daily news updates.  

In addition, SI is not metering content rom FanNation, its network of team-specific sites, or SI Swimsuit posts, it says.  

And, SI.com visitors will have an allotment of free articles, after which they will be asked to subscribe.  The magazine contends that it needs to make this move to support quality reporting.  

"Pick any SI writer, photographer, videographer or podcaster, and you’ll see they have spent a career finding ways to get farther inside the ropes than the competition," it said. 

Last September, SI’s former sister magazine, Time, which is now owned by Marc Benioff, announced it would start charging $2.99 per month for access.  

Meredith sold SI to Authentic Brands Group for $110 million in 2019.

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