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The Athletic Co-Founders Explain Selling to The New York Times

“The New York Times won us over. They won us over in their mission, in how we fit into that mission, and how important we are to their mission.”

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The sports journalism world began 2022 with a bit of a shock when news broke of the acquisition of The Athletic by the New York Times.

The Athletic grew to prominence not only by hiring some of the most well-known reporters in the industry, but by also hosting content on a website free of advertising.

But eventually it seemed like being ad-free, combined with slowing subscription growth, was a hindrance in the company being profitable. Financial reports from the past several years indicate that The Athletic operated at a loss.

Did that serve as the primary reason for co-founders Adam Hansmann and Alex Mather to sell? In an interview with CNBC’s Alex Sherman, Mather said it came down to how the Times presented a vision for The Athletic’s future.

“For us, the simple version of ‘why sell?’ is: The New York Times won us over,” he said. “They won us over in their mission, in how we fit into that mission, and how important we are to their mission, and how they can really supercharge what we’re doing. And we fell in love with the idea, and our board was supportive.”

The deal took some time to complete and at one point, Hansmann and Mather walked away from negotiations with both Axios and the Times. But towards the end of 2021, Mather said an opportunity for The Athletic to be a part of the portfolio of journalism the Times offers to readers made the most sense.

“Things change quite quickly,” he said. “You know, we took a year and a half from that moment and really, you know, evaluated all of our options and in the end felt like The New York Times was the best home for the company.”

The understanding at this point is that The Athletic will continue to operate as a standalone product under the Times umbrella, and then it will be offered in subscription bundles for the paper. Mather added being a marquee puzzle piece in providing worldwide sports coverage will be supremely appealing to subscribers.

“If you think about the essential news bundle in the world, you add in what The New York Times does in world news, politics, science, I can go on forever,” he said. “And then you think about what we do for the sports fans who live anywhere in the world. That is absolutely an essential bundle.”

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Mike Francesa: Chris Russo Will Be On My Podcast

“When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

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WFAN legend Mike Francesa is settling into his new podcast opportunity with BetRivers, and has left the door open for a reunion with his longtime colleague and friend Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

Francesa was responding to questions on his show, with the newest episode out Monday, when he said he would be able to book Russo for an appearance down the road.

“Listen, I’ve gone on Dog’s shows a couple of times. I could definitely get Dog as a guest one time,” Francesa said.

The last time the two shared a stage and microphone was back in March at the BSM Summit. Francesa said he will make sure whenever Russo does come on, it will be at a time that makes the most sense.

“We will do that at an opportune time,” he said. “Maybe right before the football season or maybe late in the baseball season. When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

Whenever the reunion happens, best believe it will be a must-listen. It will mark the first time the two have been on a podcast together.

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Andy King To Lead Buchwald Agency’s Podcast Division

“The hiring of King is expected to bolster Buchwald Sports, the division of the company that represents athletes, coaches, and broadcasters.”

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Veteran sports programmer Andy King is entering the podcasting world. He has joined the Buchwald Agency. He will help clients develop and sell podcast ideas.

King comes from SiriusXM, where he had been since 2015. He was the director of sports programming and helped create podcasts for the company featuring high profile talent including Let’s Go with Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald and Digging Up the Past with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo.

Prior to joining SiriusXM, Andy King spent 15 years in Miami. Before leaving, he had risen to program director at 560 WQAM.

The Buchwald Agency largely deals with clients from the entertainment world. The hiring of King is expected to bolster Buchwald Sports, the division of the company that represents athletes, coaches, and broadcasters.

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Dave Portnoy Tells Business Insider CEO He Is ‘Piece Of S*** Coward’

“Despite objections from the moderator, Dave Portnoy got out his entire question before his mic was muted.”

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Dave Portnoy is not going to move on from his hate of Business Insider. The Barstool founder joined a Twitter Spaces session on Thursday night where the public had a chance to talk to Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget.

The event was hosted by the New York Times. Blodget was part of a panel discussing issues facing the business community.

“So yeah, I saw that piece of shit Henry Blodget’s on there,” Portnoy said when his mic went live. “My first question’s why would a piece of shit who’s been banned by the SEC from talking about stocks be on there. My second question is hey Henry, you f***ing coward, you know everything you wrote about me was bullshit. Why don’t you ever sit down with me you f***ing piece of shit coward. That’s my question.”

Despite objections from the moderator, Dave Portnoy got out his entire question before his mic was muted. No answer came. The moderator apologized to Blodget and ended the event.

The accusations of Blodget being banned by the SEC from discussing financial advice are true. Portnoy was referncing fraud charges that Blodget settled in 2003 when he was a Wall Street analyst.

Business Insider has ran a salacious piece about Portnoy’s sex life in November. It included accusations of misconduct from three women that claimed consensual sexual encounters with Portnoy took a dark turn without their consent.

Dave Portnoy has maintained the story is not true. He has also threatened to sue Blodget, Business Insider and the story’s author Julia Black.

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