THE NEW YOURK TIMES BUYS SPORTS NEWS SITE THE ATHLETIC FOR 550 MILLION

Posted 06 January, 2022

The New York Times will acquire the sports information site The Athletic, which has become a benchmark in its sector in six years, for 550 million dollars, a new signal of the diversification of the press group.

The site will continue to operate independently of the New York Times, the daily said in a statement on Thursday.

Launched in 2016, The Athletic had bet on paid sports information all online but with a strong local presence, hiring renowned journalists in major American cities.

Taking advantage of the poor health of an often financially drained local press, the platform quickly became an essential place for sports information in the United States.

By the end of 2021, it had around 1.2 million subscribers, the New York Times reported.

The site has grown at an accelerating pace, launching a UK version in 2019 and partnering with the Australian television group Optus Sport in 2021.

He has also created numerous podcasts, including the popular The Lead.

But, according to several American media, The Athletic struggles to achieve profitability and was considering, before its takeover, a refocusing of its strategy.

The two co-founders, Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann are committed to staying with the company, the first as managing director and the second as number two, with Times executive David Perpich becoming managing editor.

"The Times already offers sports coverage apart for a wide audience," said the group's CEO, Meredith Kopit Levien, quoted in the press release. The acquisition of The Athletic "will allow us to offer a lot more. (...) It is a nice addition to The Times."

"We believe The Athletic will allow us to expand our pool of potential subscribers," added the leader.

In recent years, the New York Times has embarked on a policy of targeted acquisitions to diversify its audience, rejuvenate it, and enrich its offering, from cooking recipes to podcasts.

In 2016, he bought the Wirecutter site, which tests and recommends products, before taking control, in June 2020, of the Serial Productions studio, behind the first great success in the podcast universe, "Serial".

According to the Crunchbase database, The Athletic has raised a total of $ 139.5 million from investors since its inception and was valued at between $ 500 million and $ 1 billion when it was last raised in January. 2020.

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