The New York Times is getting into sports. The American daily is set to acquire the news site The Athletic, paying $550 million in cash to get its hands on one of the stars of sports coverage in the United States.
The acquisition is one of the most significant deals in the history of the New York Times . In a statement, the New York Times' CEO, Meredith Kopit Levien, said that: "Acquiring The Athletic puts us in a position to be a global leader in sports journalism and offer English speakers around the world another reason to turn to the Times Company to meet their daily news and life needs."
The Athletic was founded in 2016 by Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann, two entrepreneurs who previously worked at fitness app Strava. The site now covers 200 sports clubs and teams in more than 47 markets. This extensive coverage has helped it build a loyal following of 1.2 million paying readers.
The New York Times Company's acquisition of The Athletic could allow the newspaper to reach 10 million subscribers by 2025. A goal that appears to be on track, since the Times had nearly 8.4 million subscribers as of September, including more than a million internationally.
This takeover of the sports news site could momentarily put strain on the group's finances. The Athletic is not expected to be profitable before at least 2023, according to the specialist publication The Information. It currently has 600 employees, including 400 journalists. In comparison, only about 40 journalists cover sports news for The New York Times.
Before being bought by the New York Times, The Athletic was in talks to join American digital media organization, Axios -- talks that ultimately proved unsuccessful.