The New York Times Company is going to buy The Athletic, the company confirmed in a statement on Thursday. The deal is valued at $550 million and will result in The Times adding 1.2 million new subscribers to its services.
Betting Agencies Out of the Race, The Times Seals the Deal
This announcement also quashes previous rumors that FanDuel or DraftKings may be on the prowl to buy The Athletic, an established sports publication with high-quality paid content. Through this acquisition, The Times is going to fulfill its objective of reaching 10 million subscriptions by 2025.
This will result in added value for readers who will receive in-depth coverage of more than 200 professional teams from North America, Britain, and Europe, the announcement reads. Times Company chief executive Meredith Kopit Levien has hailed the acquisition as a “great complement to The Times,” and added:
“We are now in pursuit of a goal meaningfully larger than 10 million subscriptions and believe The Athletic will enable us to expand our addressable market of potential subscribers.”Company chief executive Meredith Kopit Levien
The Athletic will be operated independently from The Times newsroom and sports section, though. The original founders of The Athletic, Alex Mather, and Adam Hansmann will carry on after the acquisition as they are seen as valuable team members. Commenting on these developments, the executives had this to add:
“We started The Athletic to bring fans closer to the teams, players, and leagues they love through deep, immersive journalism and storytelling.”Joint statement by The Athletic
The Athletic Emerged at the Right Time
The Athletic was started at a time when traditional journalism was in decline. ESPN laid off some of its most prominent journalists and Sports Illustrated was caught in a transition. With the vacuum left by those developments, Mather and Hansmann decided to move in, hiring a number of hard-hitting and experienced journalists that would in themselves cultivate a significant audience.
The Athletic managed to bring spot-on content to hungry audiences by having a journalist dedicated to every major North American league team and European soccer club, bringing a range of in-depth content that allowed the newspaper to quickly emerge and establish itself as a beacon for sports aficionados.
The subscription-based model was quickly justified with more people looking to peek behind the curtain. The Athletic has chosen to go down a subscription-based model rather than look for advertisers who diminish the user experience. Meanwhile, The Athletic has been able to set up its operations in Australia and it has not shunned a closer partnership with BetMGM, a prominent US sports betting company.