The New York Times Considers Adding The Athletic To Its Lineup

The Mets and Yankees are contenders in their divisions. The Jets landed BYU standout Zach Wilson in the draft. And the Knicks are good for the first time in a millennium.

That’s given sports pages in the Big Apple a lot to buzz about. And so it came as no surprise Wednesday that the city’s largest newspaper, The New York Times, was revealed as a likely buyer of Silicon Valley’s most successful sports media startup, The Athletic.

Prospect Scouting

Whispers of a deal were already in the air—Times brass, according to Axios, first reached out to The Athletic in March. But the paper is now undertaking some active scouting, with Times envoys feeling out former employees of the sports startup regarding its culture and business practices.

With the courtship starting to heat up, here’s a look at what The Athletic has to offer:

  • The startup has 600 full-time employees covering sports in 47 North American cities and the UK. It raised $50 million last year at a $500 million valuation.
  • The brand’s 1.2 million subscribers – some on discounted plans – netted The Athletic $80 million in revenue last year, but not enough to reach a profit.

Gameplan: One big reason the Times is looking for subscription options beyond its core news product is the end of the so-called “Trump Bump,” which drove millions of new subscribers to the NYT and Washington Post.

And In Other Sports Media News…

The Associated Press — the 175-year-old independent news organization — said it will now cite gambling odds powered exclusively by FanDuel. While welcoming compensation from the online wagering company, the AP affirms it will “maintain full editorial independence.”

In addition, the companies will integrate FanDuel widgets across the sports pages of APNews.com and distribute “select FanDuel content” across the AP wire.

The Takeaway

Whether it’s subscription dollars or wagering dollars, traditional media sees big green in the field of sports news.

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