The New York Times has opted for a sports digital medium as a lever to increase the number of subscribers. The New York newspaper announced this Thursday its acquisition of The Athletic, a pay platform founded in January 2016 in San Francisco that provides coverage of more than 200 sports clubs, mainly in the United States. The amount of the operation was 550 million dollars, an investment with which the newspaper intends to accelerate its path to breaking the goal of 10 million subscriptions by 2025.
The Athletic Until last December, it registered 1.2 million subscribers, showing that there are users willing to consume in-depth sports information in long-term and innovative formats. Every week, the medium publishes more than 1,000 stories and more than 150 podcast episodes focused on hockey, American football, basketball, international football and baseball, with detailed information on each team in each of the professional leagues.
“The acquisition places us in a position to be world leaders in sports journalism,” said Meredith Kopit Levien, CEO of The New York Times. The sum of The Athletic The company’s portfolio of assets will allow them to “offer greater coverage to fans seeking a deep connection to understand their favorite teams, leagues and players.” “It is a great complement,” added the executive.
Part of the success of The Athletic It is due to the large team of reporters that it has. A staff of 600 people, of which 450 are writers who dedicate themselves full time to searching for exclusives and preparing content with different outputs. The pandemic forced the media to lay off 8% of the workforce, some 46, people, but it has been recovering talent in recent months. “When we founded the company we set out to become the favorite sports page for every city in the world,” said the founders of the medium, Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann.
Hather and Hansmann had no prior journalistic experience. They both worked on Strava, the popular app used by runners and cyclists to monitor their physical activity. Hansmann had experience as an analyst at consulting firm McKinsey, and Hather had had a stint at one of the giant Comcast’s television-on-demand services. After their arrival at the Times, both will remain in the middle management, which will become a subsidiary and will operate independently although it will report to an editor in New York.
The Times has informed its investors that it expects the operation to dilute the company’s profit margin “for approximately three years” as the number of subscribers grows and the online advertising model for the platform is strengthened. In the long run, the newspaper hopes that The Athletic can increase the subscribed users, which are currently 8.4 million, 7.6 million digital exclusives. The newspaper, which has 1,000 million dollars to make investments, has been buying digital media that help to reach the goal that it set itself to meet in three years.
As part of this strategy, the Times bought Wirecutter, a product review website, and Audum, an app that offers an audio version of the best long-winded reports from the American press. The Athletic You can increase the rate of growth with the rise of sports betting, a business that has grown exponentially in recent years in the United States and where bettors are always looking for valuable information to make a difference.
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