Sports | May 26, 2021 9:28 am

Report: The New York Times in Talks to Acquire The Athletic

A deal would bring The Athletic’s more than one million paying subscribers to the Times

The New York Times Building
A view of The New York Times Building Headquarters.
John Nacion/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

According to a report from Axios citing three sources that was shared by Front Office Sports, The New York Times is looking into acquiring The Athletic.

The report seems credible, as there were rumors about a potential deal between The Athletic and Axios in March, and the Times got involved after the talks about a potential merger fell apart earlier this month.

“The Athletic views the New York Times as a leading contender for a merger tie-up,” people familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal earlier this month. “Such a deal would bring the Athletic’s more than one million paying subscribers to the Times, which has seen digital-news subscriptions slow since former President Donald Trump left office.”

Per the new report from Axios, the Times is not looking for a joint venture or strategic partnership and has its sights set on full acquisition of the subscription-only sports site. To that end, the Times has been vetting The Athletic’s business and culture by reaching out to former employees.

“The deal would help bolster the Times’ subscription strategy, especially if it were to one day bundle its existing subscription offerings,” per Axios. “The Times has nearly 8 million total paid subscribers, with nearly 7 million paying for just digital products. It’s on pace to meet its goal of 10 million digital subscribers by 2025. The Times could possibly include The Athletic’s sports subscription business as part of a larger subscription bundle. The Times sells subscriptions around its core news product, games, cooking and audio.”

Vox Media also reportedly has held talks with The Athletic about a merger. Neither the Times nor The Athletic had a comment about the potential acquisitions when approached by Axios.

As fans of both the Times and The Athletic, we’d be happy to see the two publications comes together — especially because it might mean one less log-in password to remember.