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The Athletic Exploring Deal With New York Times

Axios and The Athletic were reportedly in merger talks as recently as March.



A deal that would have merged Axios and The Athletic is no longer on the table. The Wall Street Journal reported that the news publisher and sports content company are “no longer in merger talks,” but The Athletic still wants to expand its business.

The two sides were reportedly working on a merger deal back in March, but now The Athletic has turned its sights to the New York Times. The newspaper is facing a new era after years of growth with former President Donald Trump in office. The Times signed up 167,000 new subscribers this month, marking the site’s slowest growth since the second quarter of 2019. 

“As a general matter of policy, we do not comment on rumors about potential acquisitions or divestitures,” A New York Times spokeswoman said to The Hill

The Athletic has over a million paid subscribers signed up for their $7.99 a month content offerings, but their financials are a bit of a mystery. Although a source disclosed to The Wall Street Journal that The Athletic generated $80 million in revenue last year. According to PitchBook, the company’s valuation stood at $475 million during its most recent funding round in January 2020.

The company laid off 46 people last June during the height of the pandemic but has appeared to rebound well as sports returned across the world. Co-Founder Alex Mather discussed the company’s growth with CNBC last September and made a point to mention the New York Times.

“Our investors have been and continue to be incredibly patient,” Mather said. “We just don’t think about exit, and we don’t know the upside here. There are very few companies doing what we’re doing. The New York Times is the tip of the spear, and they’re growing faster than ever. We don’t know what our ceiling is. When we feel like we know what our ceiling is, then it’s time for Adam and I to have a chat. But we have not come close to having a chat.”

UPDATE: According to Axios, the New York Times has begun vetting The Athletic. The paper has been reaching out to former Athletic staffers for information about the company’s business and culture.

The Athletic is not profitable at this time. The Wall Street Journal reports that it carries a staff of 600 full-time employees. What the Times would need to see happen with revenues and profits in order to close a deal remains to be seen.

Sports Online

Sportradar Signs New Partnership With NBA, WNBA

“With the new deal, Sportradar obtains an equity stake in the NBA and will continue providing all of the leagues with sports betting data.”



Courtesy: NBA, Sportradar

Sportradar announced a landmark new partnership with the NBA, WNBA, and G League starting in 2023-24. The global sports technology company is helping the leagues expand their international footprints and drive even more fan engagement.

With the new deal, Sportradar obtains an equity stake in the NBA and will continue providing all of the leagues with sports betting data. Sportradar is also expanding the distribution of player tracking data while working with the league’s partners to change how sports betting data is utilized by NBA-associated betting operators and media affiliates.

“We are delighted that the NBA has chosen Sportradar as the official partner who can support the global popularity and explosive growth of the game,” said Sportradar global CEO Carsten Koerl in a press release. “Basketball is the largest U.S. sport in the world by popularity and, as a market leader, we are best positioned with the technological expertise and industry relationships to help the NBA entertain fans globally.”

Sportradar is a company focused on creating immersive experiences for sports fans and bettors. It was founded in 2001 and annually covers more than 750,000 events across 83 sports.

“We believe that this agreement will contribute to Sportradar’s profitable business and continued growth,” Koerl continued. “The remaining time left on the existing deal, and this new multi-year agreement, gives us significant runway to partner with the NBA and develop exciting solutions across our teams, betting and sports entertainment verticals.”

Sportradar became the NBA’s real-time statistics provider in 2016, and the relationship has only grown since then.

“Sportradar has been a terrific partner as the league has navigated its exploration into the global sports betting landscape,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, senior vice president, head of gaming & new business ventures, NBA. “As the market matures, we are thrilled to extend our partnership with Sportradar to utilize data and insights to create new fan experiences and innovate around the NBA globally.”

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Sports Online

Plenty of Big Sports Media Names In New Movie ‘National Champions’

“Sports media stars like ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Former ESPN personality Jemele Hill, and Peacock’s Michael Holley appeared in the debut trailer released this week.”



Courtesy: STX Films

Some big names in the sports media industry are gracing the silver screen in the upcoming National Champions movie. Sports media stars like ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Former ESPN personality Jemele Hill, and Peacock’s Michael Holley appeared in the debut trailer released this week.

The story centers around top NFL Draft prospect LeMarcus James (played by Stephan James), who is just days away from playing in the National Championship game. The quarterback and his teammate Emmett Sunday (Alexander Ludwig) decide to lead a boycott of the game to force the NCAA to pay players a fair salary.

James’s decision pits him against his head coach, James Lazor (J.K. Simmons), who is just one win away from securing his legacy with a national championship.

Other than Simmons and James, the ensemble includes Timothy Olyphant (Justified), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice), and David Koechner (Anchorman).

The trailer didn’t depict many action-packed football scenes and figures to be more of a drama than a typical sports movie. STX Films may have missed the timing on this film by a full year. The debate about paying college athletes is getting more one-sided by the day in the Name, Image, Likeness era.

After the Supreme Court allowed college athletes to start profiting off of NIL deals this past July, the idea of paying every college athlete a salary from the school makes less sense. The profitable, marketable athletes are finding compensation in the free market, while the third-string benchwarmers stay on the money-making sidelines. Athletes that make their schools’ money can find payment if the market deems them worthy.

We’ll see how much new ground National Champions uncovers on the subject when the movie premieres in-theaters only on Dec. 10.

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Sports Online

theScore Launches First Narrative Podcast

“John and our NHL team did a terrific job bringing these stories to life.”



A new podcast on goalies has been announced that will certainly get the attention of any and all hockey fans.

theScore has announced a long-form hockey podcast called When Goalies Were Weird. The show is a six-part narrative series about the players and larger-than-life characters that redefined the goalie position during the ‘90s and early 2000’s.

Longtime NHL writer John Matisz will be hosting the new podcast alongside research and reporting from features writer Nick Faris.

“These podcasts are a look back at some of the most influential players who transformed not just their position between the pipes, but the game at large.” said director of content at theScore, Rory Barrs.

This podcast is the first of its kind for theScore, as they have no other narrative-based podcasts. Episode one is set to premiere on November 22nd featuring NHL legend Dominik Hasek on all streaming platforms.

Here is a sneak peek of the podcast set to premiere next week.

Barrs added that this new podcast is a huge new step for the company, saying “As our first narrative audio series, the stories are sure to strike a nostalgic chord and take fans back to this era of generational goalie talent, with anecdotes from the players themselves and those around them. John and our NHL team did a terrific job bringing these stories to life.”

All six parts of the series are already planned out for the company, with some notable goalies listed as guests. Those include Patrick Roy, Ron Hextall, Ed Belfour Curtis Joseph, Martin Brodeur, Garth Snow, Damian Rhodes, and Jim Carey.

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