The Athletic hired LionTree a little over a month ago to help it find a buyer, and that journey is starting to pick up steam. According to The Information, FanDuel and DraftKings are interested in purchasing the sports news site.
“Fantasy and sports betting providers, FanDuel and DraftKings, are among a number of companies that have submitted bids to buy sports news site The Athletic, according to people familiar with the situation,” Jessica Toonkel and Sahil Patel wrote in the piece.
The Information previously stated that the site is seeking a valuation of over $750 million after being valued at $530 million last year. The Athletic has been mum on the developments and wouldn’t respond to comment when they initially brought on LionTree in September.
The site has been tied to buyers before, including The New York Times and Axios, but those deals fell through before pen went to paper.
“As a general matter of policy, we do not comment on rumors about potential acquisitions or divestitures,” a Times spokesperson told TheWrap at that time, while an Athletic representative echoed similar sentiments: “The Athletic does not comment on rumors or speculation in the market.”
The New York Times negotiation collapsed because the two sides couldn’t agree on how to offer the site’s employees equity in the company.
Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann launched the site in Jan. 2016 as a way to provide “smarter coverage for die-hard fans.” Now they are an international outfit. Jon Greenberg and a small contingent of Chicago-based sports writers helped get the ball rolling in the Windy City before they moved north of the border to Toronto as their second coverage site.
The Athletic made another big expansion when they started coverage of English sports, namely Premier League soccer. The Athletic proved sports fans are willing to pay for clean, strong coverage, and now they are trying to cash in on that bet.
4 Kicked Tires On The Athletic Before New York Times Deal
“Amazon reportedly had eyes on pairing The Athletic with its Thursday Night Football coverage.”
Before The New York Times agreed to pay $550 million to acquire The Athletic, other companies showed interest in the subscription sports site. Alex Sherman of CNBC says throughout 2021, multiple companies discussed buying The Athletic.
In March of 2021, The Athletic and Axios began talks to merge. When that fell through, Sherman writes that other suitors stepped up. Amazon, Conde Nast, and DraftKings were amongst the media suitors. Private equity firm TPG Capital showed interest as well.
Amazon reportedly had eyes on pairing The Athletic with its Thursday Night Football coverage. “Spokespeople at Amazon, Conde Nast and DraftKings didn’t respond to requests for comment,” Sherman writes.
TPG Capital was the most serious competitor to The Times. TPG also declined to comment, but Sherman reports that writers for The Athletic were worried about their jobs should a private equity firm buy the site.
Details of The New York Time’s take over have not been revealed, although it is expected that The Athletic will continue to function as an independent entity under the new ownership.
BetMGM Launches In New York On Monday
“Mobile wagering officially became legal in the Empire State over the weekend.”
BetMGM is the next man up in the New York Gaming Commision’s “rolling” plan to introduce new mobile sportsbooks in the state. The company announced via Twitter that it would begin taking bets on January 17.
Mobile wagering officially became legal in the Empire State over the weekend. Four books launched their New York operations on Saturday and saw massive returns. The state generating more tax revenue off one day of mobile wagering than it has in more than 30 months of retail betting.
Will BetMGM experience the same boom on day 1 that BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel all did upon their launch?
Probably not. Those four were the first mobile players in the market. Also, by launching on Monday, BetMGM will miss all but one game on the NFL Playoffs’ Super Wild Card Weekend.
But this is a long play. The population of New York State is large enough and BetMGM is well-enough-established to generate profit quickly. Besides, with the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, and Sabers all in season, there will be no shortage of opportunities in the coming months for New Yorkers to fire up the BetMGM app and lay their money down.
FOX Sports Launches Podcast Network
“The Fox Sports Podcast Network will be the new home to premium podcasts from Fox Sports’ prominent voices and storytellers.”
Fox Sports officially launched its podcast network on Thursday, led by FS1 host Skip Bayless, and the network announced additional shows set to debut in the coming months.
The Fox Sports Podcast Network will be the new home to premium podcasts from Fox Sports’ prominent voices and storytellers.
“Fox Sports is the leading destination for top quality original digital content from the biggest personalities in sports,” said Fox Sports EVP and Head of Content Charlie Dixon said in a press release. “The creation of this new podcast network allows us to deliver fans exclusive commentary and enthralling stories providing hours of entertainment through this important medium.”
The Skip Bayless Show debuted Thursday and features Bayless breaking down the top sports stories combined with his own stories surrounding the biggest moments in athletics history. The weekly podcast, which will also feature interviews and unscripted responses to fan questions, rolled out alongside a number of pods that have already brought in millions of listeners.
Club Shay Shay is a podcast featuring Bayless’s Undisputed co-host Shannon Sharpe that has joined the network. Flippin’ Bats, hosted by Ben Verlander, and The No. 1 Ranked Show, presented by college football analyst RJ Young, are also among the offerings on the network.
Fox also announced debut dates for two highly-anticipated podcasts. What’s Wright with Nick Wright will feature a video series alongside the podcast offering and will premiere on March 1. Wright will be doing a lot of ranking on a variety of topics each week. The show will have new episodes every Tuesday.
Then in April, Tom Rinaldi will begin presenting what the network calls a serialized audio documentary about former Major League Baseball player Lyman Wesley Bostock Jr. The podcast is entitled Wesley. Bostock was one of baseball’s top players in the late 1970s before he was murdered in 1978. The podcast will be a deep dive into the events surrounding and including Bostock’s killing.
You can listen to Fox Sports Podcast Network shows on Apple and Spotify and on Fox digital platforms.
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