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The Athletic Latest Subscription Service To Raise Prices

ESPN+ also announced a price increase this week.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: The Athletic

The price hikes keep coming in sports media this week. Variety reports that The Athletic is following ESPN+ in raising subscription prices starting today.

The Athletic is now charging $71.99 per year for new and existing subscribers. A yearly subscription previously cost $59.99. Annual subscribers are still paying less than month-to-month subscribers.

“We have got 450 reporters, writers, editors, producers on three continents producing as much volume as any national newspaper in the world per week,” The Athletic CEO and founder Alex Mather said in an interview with Variety. “We are still at the same price point.”

To his credit, The Athletic has not increased prices at all until this week. “We want to continue to build,” he says, and the subscription increase “really just helps that mission.”

The Athletic has been rumored in acquisition deals throughout 2021 but reported agreements with Axios and The New York Times Company never came to fruition. Mather did not tip his hand on any merger deals to Variety.

“The strategic environment is pretty wild and I’m sure it will continue to be that way,” Mather said. “We’ve got to forge our own path here.”

Price hikes have been a theme in sports media lately after ESPN+ announced a $1 per month increase on their plans and NBCUniversal upped 30-second Super Bowl spot pricing from $5.8 million to $6.2 million, according to media buyers. A move that hasn’t hurt demand after reports surfaced that the company has already sold 85% of its inventory for February’s Super Bowl in Los Angeles.

Mather is encouraged by the content diet of his subscribers, noting that more than 80% of subscribers use the site to keep up with more than two different sports leagues. Additionally, more than 40% of subscribers consume content from more than four leagues each month.

The Athletic is banking on that diversity as sports return to normal across the world.

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Sports Online

WWE Legend The Iron Sheik Remembered By Sports Media

“Following the announcement of his death, many sports talk shows took time out to pay tribute.”

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Courtesy: Getty Images

The Iron Sheik is one of the legendary villains in the history of professional wrestling. While he reached the peak of his fame in the ring in the 1980s and 90s, he found new life on Twitter thanks to his often profane, sometimes vulgar, and always funny commentary on the world.

The Sheik, whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri died on Tuesday. He was 81 years old.

While most know his professional wrestling career, his amateur career is no less impressive. He competed for Iran at the 1968 Olymipcs and served as a coach for the United States national team at the 1972 games.

Following the announcement of his death, many sports talk shows took time out to pay tribute. Pat McAfee called the Iron Sheik “one of the greatest heels of all time” before offering a moment of silence. In Boston, Felger & Mazz producer James Stewart took to the 98.5 The Sports Hub website to post a tribute.

On social media, tributes poured in from all over. It started in the wrestling world.

But the appeal of The Iron Sheik was far bigger than just professional wrestling. As an entertainer, Sheik had plenty of fans across the sports media. They came with their own tributes that included favorite memories and taunting The Iron Sheik’s bitter rival Hulk Hogan.

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Joel Klatt Launching Big Noon Conversations Podcast

The subset of The Joel Klatt Show: A College Football Podcast, will premiere on Monday, June 12.

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Courtesy: FOX Sports

FOX Sports has announced the launch of a new interview-based series as college football season quickly approaches. The series, titled The Joel Klatt Show – “Big Noon Conversations” will feature lead college football analyst Joel Klatt and contain compelling and intuitive conversation about the sport.

The subset of The Joel Klatt Show: A College Football Podcast, will premiere on Monday, June 12 with an exclusive sitdown interview featuring Colorado football coach Deion Sanders. FOX will also carry Sanders’ first two games as the leader of the Buffaloes on Big Noon Saturday – first on Saturday, Sep. 2 on the road against TCU and then, one week later, in Boulder, Colo. against the University of Nebraska.

Other guests set to appear on the series include Ohio State football coach Ryan Day, Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey and UCLA football coach Chip Kelly. The endeavor is in collaboration with FOX Sports Podcasts, and a preview of the series was tweeted out by the podcast shortly after Wednesday’s announcement.

Klatt has worked at FOX Sports since 2013, concurrent with the launch of FS1, where he began as a studio analyst for college football coverage. In addition, he joined broadcasts as a game analyst on select Thursday night games and the 2014 Pac-12 Championship Game, while also hosting FOX NFL Kickoff.

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Colin Cowherd: The Volume is Worth $100 Million

“In 18 months, my contract runs out. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I think the Volume will be a part of my life for the remainder of my broadcast career.”

Ricky Keeler

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With all of the things that Colin Cowherd has done in his illustrious media career, he enjoys getting the chance to be a part of a team. He gets that from his podcast company The Volume. Even though Cowherd is already a big name talent himself, he always wants to try to find who the next one is. 

Cowherd was a guest host on The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast filling in for John Ourand. He talked about how fun it is to work like a baseball scout.

“I like searching for talent. I feel like a baseball scout. It’s kind of a digital media company with podcasts…We have a pretty good staff. We will announce a couple names before the football season. It’s just really cool to be part of a team, to find talent. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”

As for how much The Volume is worth, Cowherd said he is not looking to sell the company anytime soon.

“I’ve had people who have explored buying it. Right now, we are not going to. In 18 months, my contract runs out. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I think the Volume will be a part of my life for the remainder of my broadcast career.”

When that time does come though, Colin Cowherd isn’t going to give The Volume up for just anything. He recently got a high valuation.

“I think I know what it’s worth. I’ve talked to LionTree, a couple of banks. We are in a very soft advertising market, so what your evaluation is can be very fluid. I feel very strongly about what we are worth and we are not looking to sell it. It’s over $100 million.”

With the latest news about the duo of Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe splitting up on UNDISPUTED, Cowherd believes that Shannon Sharpe is one of the few people in media who can migrate an audience in the opinion space. 

“I think tandems are hard. I think they have an expiration date, but there’s not a lot of Shannons in the opinion space. There’s a lot of people doing it. There’s not a lot of people doing it at a high level and Shannon is theatrical, funny, handsome, and he is quick on his feet and he has stride and strong opinions. I think he is going to flourish wherever he goes.”

Cowherd did say some good things about Bayless. He admires Bayless’s passion for wanting to win the debate and he respects people who are passionate about anything that they do.

“I tend to like the search for theories, I’m not a debate guy. It’s just not my personality to debate. He was born to do it. He loves what he does. I found through the years in the media, I respect people who are passionate about what they do…He loves winning. If you told me he goes home and keeps a standings about the arguments he wins, I would believe it.”

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