The Athletic Gets Acquired

January 7, 2022 The Athletic Gets Acquired

By: Carlos Alvarez

New York Times Co. Purchases ‘The Athletic’ for $550 Million

The sports news site that flipped advertising models on its head has been acquired by the New York Times for $550 million in cash. The Athletic, an ad-free sports news site launched in 2016, featured a subscription covering national and local sports of more than 200 professional teams. The media company took the sports world by storm in the last five years, amassing 1.2 million subscribers behind a team of over 400 editors and writers.


5 Years of Build-Up

The San Francisco-based brand cherry-picked sportswriters from local markets throughout the United States to build its content platform with the purest talent. In doing so, they single-handedly produced unmatchable long-form sports content for a monthly subscription. Despite its massive subscriber count, The Athletic had not reached profitability.


“We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing,” said Alex Mather, co-founder of The Athletic in a 2017 interview with the New York times. “We will suck them dry of their best talent at every moment. We will make business extremely difficult for them.”


Additional Storylines

CNBC: New York Times to Buy The Athletic for $550 Million

The Ringer: The Athletic Set Out to Destroy Newspapers. Then It Became One.


Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images