The Athletic

The Athletic
Type of site
Sports journalism[1]
Available inEnglish, French (Montreal only)
Headquarters San Francisco

Other offices:
New York
OwnerThe Athletic Media Company
Created byAlex Mather
Adam Hansmann[3]
URLThe Athletic
LaunchedJanuary 2016; 4 years ago

The Athletic is a subscription-based sports website covering professional and college teams in over 20 other North American cities.[4] The site also covers national stories in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer through a mix of long-form journalism, original reporting, and podcasts. Their business model is predicated on dis-aggregating the sports section of local newspapers and reaching non-local fans that are not reached by a local newspaper.[5]


The Athletic was founded by Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann, former coworkers at subscription-based fitness company Strava, with the mission of producing "smarter coverage for die-hard fans." The company was built as an alternative to the struggling ad-supported models.[4] The Athletic relies on subscriptions, not advertising revenue, to support the business.[6]

The site originally launched in Chicago in January 2016,[7] with Jon Greenberg serving as the founding editor, along with Sahadev Sharma (Cubs) and Scott Powers (Blackhawks). Greenberg and Powers previously worked at ESPN Chicago, while Sharma left Baseball Prospectus' Cubs vertical to join the website. The company participated in Y Combinator during the summer of 2016.[8]

In October 2016, The Athletic expanded to a second city, Toronto, to focus on Maple Leafs, Raptors, and Blue Jays coverage. The Athletic hired James Mirtle as editor-in-chief for Toronto.[9] Mirtle spent over a decade as a sportswriter at The Globe and Mail before joining The Athletic. A third city, Cleveland, launched in March 2017, with Jason Lloyd as editor-in-chief.[10] The Athletic continued city expansion to Detroit in June 2017.[11] In August, the site hired Ken Rosenthal as a senior baseball writer, shortly after Fox Sports eliminated its entire writing staff.[12][13]

The first major funding was provided by Courtside Ventures, which provided $2.3 million in seed funding.[14] In July 2017, the company raised another $5.8 million in funding and announced their expansion into the Philadelphia and San Francisco-area sports markets.[4][15] The Athletic expanded into Minnesota and the rest of Canada in September 2017.[16] In February 2018, The Athletic announced further expansion into three new cities—New York, Dallas, and Cincinnati—and launched baseball-only coverage in Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Arizona, and Kansas City.[17][18][19]

In March 2018, the company announced a $20 million third round of funding led by Evolution Media. Mather reported that this money would be invested into expanding coverage to new cities and increasing the number of writers from the current staff of 120.[20] That same month, the site announced full coverage in Denver and Boston starting in April.[21] In Denver, The Athletic hired several reporters from The Denver Post.[22] In Boston, the initial staff consisted of beat writers previously employed at the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and the Springfield Republican's web portal MassLive.[23] Adding to college football coverage, The Athletic added dedicated beat writers for major programs like Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.[24] In May, the site announced coverage of both domestic and international soccer.[25] In June 2018, The Athletic increased coverage in Los Angeles[26] and expanded into Buffalo, New York by hiring several reporters who had been bought out from The Buffalo News the same month.[27]


  1. ^ "Playing the long game" .
  2. ^ "Careers" .
  3. ^ "Playing the long game" .
  4. ^ a b c "As ESPN Falters, Sports Startup Chases Fans Tired of 'Old Fluff'" . 2017-07-24. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
  5. ^ Draper, Kevin (23 October 2017). "Why The Athletic Wants to Pillage Newspapers" . The New York Times. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  6. ^ Biasotti, Tony (October 11, 2017). "Fast-growing startup aims to 'replace the sports page'" . Columbia Journalism Review.
  7. ^ "Welcome Chicago, to The Athletic" . The Athletic. January 22, 2016. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  8. ^ "The Athletic gives diehard sports fans high-quality content without the ads" . Y Combinator. July 11, 2016.
  9. ^ @mirtle (23 November 2016). "Excited to announce that I've been hired as editor-in-chief with @TheAthleticTO, a great new startup site in Toronto" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Kleps, Kevin (February 17, 2017). "The Athletic soon will launch a Cleveland site featuring Jason Lloyd" . Crain's Cleveland Business.
  11. ^ Shea, Bill (September 24, 2017). "The Athletic: Paywall sports journalism plants its flag in Detroit" . Crain's Detroit Business.
  12. ^ Rosenthal, Ken (August 23, 2017). "Ken Rosenthal: Why I'm joining The Athletic" . The Athletic.
  13. ^ "Fox Sports eliminates digital writing staff in favor of promoting their debate shows" . Awful Announcing. June 26, 2017.
  14. ^ "High tech and high quality, The Athletic is bringing innovation to local sports coverage" . Front Office Sports. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  15. ^ "Interview: Tim Kawakami on leaving The Mercury News and joining The Athletic" . Bay Area Sports Guy. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  16. ^ "Introducing The Athletic Canada, our national expansion..." The Athletic. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  17. ^ "The Athletic is expanding to New York City, Dallas, and Cincinnati" . Awful Announcing. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  18. ^ Putterman, Alex (2018-02-12). "The Athletic launches even more local sites, seems to be going all-in on baseball" . Awful Announcing.
  19. ^ Schram, Carol (2018-03-08). "The Athletic Will Keep Growing With The Help Of $20 Million In New Funding" .
  20. ^ Mullin, Benjamin (2018-03-05). "The Athletic Raises $20 Million to Fund Expansion" . Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660 . Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  21. ^ Putterman, Alex (2018-03-28). "The Athletic launches coverage in Denver, Seattle, and Tampa, making clear it wants to be everywhere" . Awful Announcing.
  22. ^ Roberts, Michael (2018-03-27). "Post Broncos Writer Joins Site She Saw as Trying to Destroy Newspapers" . Westword.
  23. ^ Finn, Chad. "The Athletic is filling out its Boston roster", , 29 March 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  24. ^ "The All-New All-American" . The Athletic. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  25. ^ Quraishi, George (May 17, 2018). "Goooaaaalllll! Announcing The Athletic's soccer coverage" . The Athletic.
  26. ^ "The Athletic is expanding once again, with increased coverage in Los Angeles, Dallas, Buffalo" . Awful Announcing. June 18, 2018.
  27. ^ Ploetz, Elmer (June 19, 2018). "News, Etc.: Enter The Athletic Buffalo" . The Public. Retrieved June 22, 2018.

External links

Categories: American websites | Sport websites | Internet properties established in 2016 | 2016 establishments in the United States | Podcasting companies

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