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The Athletic - UK Hiring Spree

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Seems like a lot of local newspapers are losing their writers to the website, along with a lot of The Time's sports writers (including Oliver Kay) and the Daily Mail's Martin Samuel.

It's fair to say, the future of the UK's sports writing industry is about to quickly change. And who knows if it's for the better.

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Its a monthly current offer of 2.99 right now with an actual monthly of 9.99 if you want to read the articles. I don't see how that's ever going to work against some of the more free spaces even if the writers are extremely valued. It works best for the market where people want to pay for these things. I remember thinking the same same when I wanted info from medium.com but their business model for content consumption is actually a bit better.

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“The whole thing, it has set off a bomb,” one senior sports editor told BuzzFeed News. “Fuck, it’s tremendous.”

“Not just that there’s now 50 new jobs, but newsroom managers are trying to protect their teams. Reporters and editors are going to management to ask for more resources … and they’re giving them.

“It’s a journalist transfer window.”

 

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This thing is really picking up steam. They've done some proper homework here when you look down the list of tweets from prominent football sources saying they are moving as well. This could actually be good for sports journalism in the long run.

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Anything that suddenly opens over 50 new jobs in the sports journalism world is a good thing in my eyes. 

It forces the newspapers to either search for 'new' talented writers to fill the void or enables their existing writers to ask for more time and resources to cover the sport how they'd want to.

I already have a subscription, due to their coverage of American sports, so this will only make my subscription even more worthwhile.

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I follow MLB and some years ago, The Athletic hired some really good baseball writers. 

Many predicted they´d go bankrupt soon, but they´re still alive and expanding. I´m not if sure if their model is profitable or if they´re still spending VC money, but creating a place that values good writing is a good thing in my opinion. Good sports chronicle is a big part of why following sports is a pleasurable hobby.

I wonder if they´ll ever venture in a non-english speaking market.

 

Edit: Found this good Twitter thread on the subject. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, El Profesor said:

I follow MLB and some years ago, The Athletic hired some really good baseball writers. 

Many predicted they´d go bankrupt soon, but they´re still alive and expanding. I´m not if sure if their model is profitable, but creating a place that values good writing is a good thing in my opinion. Good sports chronicle is a big part of why following sports is a pleasurable hobby.

I wonder if they´ll ever venture in a non-english speaking market.

 

Think this is their step outside North America into a zone that they think will generate higher profits from subscriptions so its plausible that once they hit that market they'll branch into other languages as they learn what it takes to be successful there. They've only really skimmed the surface of what they want to cover in the European markets and I think they'll be a success in that space too.

Their model is simple, find a sport thats popular, get some of the best journos it has and move from there. I am a bit surprised they didn't tap up the Latin American market when they were doing MLB and even the MLS in the US as well.

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6 minutes ago, Mel81x said:

Think this is their step outside North America into a zone that they think will generate higher profits from subscriptions so its plausible that once they hit that market they'll branch into other languages as they learn what it takes to be successful there. They've only really skimmed the surface of what they want to cover in the European markets and I think they'll be a success in that space too.

Their model is simple, find a sport thats popular, get some of the best journos it has and move from there. I am a bit surprised they didn't tap up the Latin American market when they were doing MLB and even the MLS in the US as well.

On the thread I linked, the writer mentions they tried to expand their MLS coverage but without much success. 

I agree on the Latin American market or actually, abut the latino market. From a business standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. They could expand their potential market to the huge latino community in the US by hiring latin american journos for peanuts and bringing a spanish-language coverage of MLB and football.

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10 minutes ago, El Profesor said:

On the thread I linked, the writer mentions they tried to expand their MLS coverage but without much success. 

I agree on the Latin American market or actually, abut the latino market. From a business standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. They could expand their potential market to the huge latino community in the US by hiring latin american journos for peanuts and bringing a spanish-language coverage of MLB and football.

I think the idea is there but they are more worried about creating a sustainable subscription model to bring those journos in as well. That's the real end-game here for them even with the acquisitions they've had on the European front. The idea there is to also create voids in the market by taking people like James Pearce off twitter and move him onto a platform with other popular sources so that they can then create the vaccuum and fill it with their own subscription model which is cheap.

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18 minutes ago, El Profesor said:

On the thread I linked, the writer mentions they tried to expand their MLS coverage but without much success. 

I agree on the Latin American market or actually, abut the latino market. From a business standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. They could expand their potential market to the huge latino community in the US by hiring latin american journos for peanuts and bringing a spanish-language coverage of MLB and football.

He does go on to say how their approach to the EPL is different from their MLS coverage. Their MLS coverage was pieced together with freelancers. For the EPL, they are going after every major football writer in Britain. Building from the top down rather than building it up from scratch.

The state of advertisment on local newspaper websites might just be the tipping point for many people into paying for this. 

People are used to having these sort of subscriptions to multiple platforms for a variety of different things now. It won't be too big a push for some of the best football writing around.

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So this is quite a serious thing then. There's some decent UK football journalistic knowledge there with who they've hired!

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Who owns the Athletic? Sort of reminds me of when Al Jazeera started hoarding up good TV journos for Al Jazeera English.

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It's gotten insane now. Basically every major journalist I follow on Twitter is now with the Atlantic. Michael Cox, Rafa Hoenigstein, James Pearce, Dan Taylor, Oliver Kay...

It's mad. How can they possibly break even with basically half of the major sports writers in Britain on their books?

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18 minutes ago, Inverted said:

It's gotten insane now. Basically every major journalist I follow on Twitter is now with the Atlantic. Michael Cox, Rafa Hoenigstein, James Pearce, Dan Taylor, Oliver Kay...

It's mad. How can they possibly break even with basically half of the major sports writers in Britain on their books?

Im curious about their revenue model too. I signed up with them last month and have been reading stuff there just dont post it as its pointless unless you have a subscription.

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Yeah most of the Everton journalists I follow on Twitter and listen to on podcasts have gone over as well, it's mad, I don't even know who is left at The Liverpool Echo.

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11 minutes ago, RandoEFC said:

Yeah most of the Everton journalists I follow on Twitter and listen to on podcasts have gone over as well, it's mad, I don't even know who is left at The Liverpool Echo.

They've even picked up a couple of the main Celtic writers. 

They're basically attempting to go from nothing, to the undisputed top sports outlet in Britain, in one leap. 

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The main Leicester journo has gone over too.

Is it worth the cost though? Got some of the best journalists but regarding any news they can offer, is it worth paying the cost for news you'll eventually find out within a few hours of something being released on this platform?

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7 minutes ago, Inverted said:

They've even picked up a couple of the main Celtic writers. 

They're basically attempting to go from nothing, to the undisputed top sports outlet in Britain, in one leap. 

Burning all that VC money. xD 

I´ve heard that the site is still not profitable, but they have enough VC money to keep afloat for the next few years. 

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Worth the money so far, obviously just up and running but the articles are interesting and well thought out. Enjoyed the piece they done on Edu specifically.

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18 minutes ago, Danny said:

Worth the money so far, obviously just up and running but the articles are interesting and well thought out. Enjoyed the piece they done on Edu specifically.

My favourite so far was the piece Rafa got published on there about how things really went down during his final months at NUFC.

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1 hour ago, Mel81x said:

My favourite so far was the piece Rafa got published on there about how things really went down during his final months at NUFC.

Yeah that was a good read

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3 hours ago, Danny said:

Worth the money so far, obviously just up and running but the articles are interesting and well thought out. Enjoyed the piece they done on Edu specifically.

How much content is there on a typical day?

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8 minutes ago, RandoEFC said:

How much content is there on a typical day?

Depends what you follow on there but I follow the Prem, Bundesliga and EFL. Seems to be around 4-5 articles a day on there, I imagine as the season picks up and as more of their writers serve notice periods they’ll produce more. It’s very much a work in progress and their Championship features are very much dedicated to a few clubs, Prem stuff is mostly top 6 at the moment but it’s still worth reading I think.

I like match reports and things like that but I also like a lot of behind the scenes journalism and it seems they’re putting a fair bit into getting you interesting stories that aren’t match related

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I love the Athletic. One of the better places to find sporting articles here. 

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4 minutes ago, Danny said:

Depends what you follow on there but I follow the Prem, Bundesliga and EFL. Seems to be around 4-5 articles a day on there, I imagine as the season picks up and as more of their writers serve notice periods they’ll produce more. It’s very much a work in progress and their Championship features are very much dedicated to a few clubs, Prem stuff is mostly top 6 at the moment but it’s still worth reading I think.

I like match reports and things like that but I also like a lot of behind the scenes journalism and it seems they’re putting a fair bit into getting you interesting stories that aren’t match related

So obviously they seem to have correspondents for all/most Premier League clubs so can you subscribe to say Everton? And is the Premier League content generic Premier League content or do you also get an article focused on Brighton or Newcastle by following the Premier League?

Sorry for all the questions.

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7 minutes ago, RandoEFC said:

So obviously they seem to have correspondents for all/most Premier League clubs so can you subscribe to say Everton? And is the Premier League content generic Premier League content or do you also get an article focused on Brighton or Newcastle by following the Premier League?

Sorry for all the questions.

I think that's the aim but at the moment it's very top 6 centric. Currently there are articles on Utd's former goalkeeper coach Eric Steele around the SAF era, an article on Iwobi to Everton, a foreign Liverpool fan finally getting to see them play, John Stones, Eddie Nketiah to Leeds and how the process unfolded (Arsenal have a fairly unusual way of deciding loans), Lucas Moura, Tyrone Mings rise at Villa, the Ozil/Kolasinic issue, Emilliano Sala.

Some articles outside of the big clubs but mostly dedicated towards them. They're meant to have a journalist for each club so I imagine their eventual game is to provide a "go to place" for detailed reports for each club

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