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Sports Illustrated Gets In Bed With AI And Its Fall From Grace Is Hard To Watch

Giphy Images.

Sports Illustrated used to be a magazine. A proper magazine.

It appears that what was once a well-respected institution of sports journalism is no better than that bottom feeder, BuzzFeed.

The Arena Group which owns Sports Illustrated and bunch of other online and print publications (I see you, TheStreet, Men's Journal, and Dealbreaker) has decided to just mail it in. The hallowed publication is turning its back on underpaid journalists to get in bed with artificial intelligence. In the words of Jersey Jerry… it's a sad day, it's a bad day.

And it appears to be whoring itself out to anything that can churn out "Lebron vs. MJ" articles at a 6th grade reading level. It's working with AI startups Jasper and Nota, and one you've probably heard of… ChatGPT.

The media company plans to use the technology to produce articles and pitch journalists ideas… because apparently the big J journos over at Sports Illustrated are brain-dead and can't think for themselves.

WSJ - The publisher of Sports Illustrated and other outlets is using artificial intelligence to help produce articles and pitch journalists potential topics to follow, the latest example of a media company investing in the emerging technology. 

The Arena Group Holdings, whose publications include TheStreet, Men’s Journal and Dealbreaker, said it is working with AI startups Jasper and Nota as part of an effort to generate stories that pull information from its own library of content. The company is also using technology from OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, a chatbot that has generated considerable buzz among consumers and businesses due to its humanlike, content-producing capabilities.

Arena Group said it isn’t looking to replace journalists. Rather, the goal is to support content workflows, video creation, newsletters, sponsored content and marketing campaigns.   

“It’s not going to replace the art of creating content,” said Ross Levinsohn, Arena Group’s chairman and chief executive. “It’s giving the content creators, whether they’re writers or social creators, real efficiency and real access to the archives we have.”

It's ChatGPT's world, and we're just living in it now. 

Of course, at the moment, pretty much everything it touches turns to gold. Shares of the Arena Group jumped 14% on Friday after news broke that it had made a deal with the devil. Buzzfeed shares doubled on the news it was using ChatGPT a few weeks back.

Which means we're right at the point of the hype cycle where every company with a faltering stock price and not enough cash to buyback shares is about to announce it's decided to dip its toe in the AI waters. And its investors will (likely) be rewarded handsomely. You might remember that we saw something similar when crypto was the hottest thing in the streets (see: Long Island Iced Tea company changing its name to Long Blockchain and mooning 200% overnight).

That said, I'd like to formally announce Barstool Finance will be changing its name to Barstool AI…

PS - I think Barstool is the only publication left with any journalistic integrity

PPS - Every day I send The Water Coolest, Barstool's daily business and markets newsletter, to a few hundred thousand Stoolies/serious investors/crayon eaters. It hits your inbox at 6 AM and covers all stories you need to know (not just Sports Illustrated news).

And now you can get the newsletter in audio version. It's available wherever you listen/watch pods…

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