Sports Illustrated was a weekly publication as recently as 2015. In 2020 it will become a monthly, Yahoo Finance has learned.
The magazine reduced to twice per month in January 2018. Now, just two years later, it will cut again to one issue per month in 2020—plus four special issues and the Swimsuit Issue, for a total of 17 issues in the calendar year.
Sports Illustrated staffers learned of the coming change at an all-hands meeting in October. Sports Illustrated management has also notified its printer of the plan to go monthly.
Most notably, sources close to the magazine say the “close time” for each issue will be 3-4 weeks, meaning that everything in every issue must be “closed” (all text and photos edited, complete, sent to the printer) more than three weeks before the magazine comes out.
That will meaningfully change the look and content of each issue, since stories will have to be evergreen enough to have a longer shelf life on newsstands. In addition, the iconic covers Sports Illustrated is so known for, which often show newsy photographs of a championship game or notable moment that just happened in the past week, likely won’t be possible.
Although the magazine will publish less frequently, the issues will be printed on heavier paper stock and priced higher on newsstands. And some current staffers are pleased with the new plan. “I actually like the idea, it doesn’t make sense as a weekly anymore,” says one writer at the magazine, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I think the issues will look more like Vanity Fair or Vogue.”