New York Times buys sports site The Athletic for $ 550 million | Economic news

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By TALI ARBEL, Writer in AP technology

The New York Times Co. is buying sports news site The Athletic for $ 550 million, the latest move in its strategy to expand its paying subscriber audience as the print newspaper industry fades.

The Times, unlike many local media outlets, has thrived in recent years. It has gained millions of subscribers during the Trump presidency and the pandemic, keeping it on track to its previously stated goal of 10 million by 2025.

In the last quarter, the Times counted nearly 8.4 million. He has diversified his coverage with lifestyle tips, games, and recipes, helping to counter a decline in the 2020 policy-driven news traffic boom.

“We are now pursuing a target of well over 10 million subscriptions and believe that The Athletic will allow us to expand our addressable market of potential subscribers,” Meredith Kopit Levien, CEO of The New York Times Co., said in a statement. press Thursday.

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It is one of the most significant acquisitions ever made by The Times. The company spent $ 1.1 billion on the Boston Globe in 1993 and $ 410 million on About.com in 2005, which it then sold for a lower price.

Digital media has recently consolidated to help it compete for online ad revenue with tech giants like Google and Facebook. German media conglomerate Axel Springer bought Politico; Vox Media Acquires Group Nine Media, Owner of Thrillist Site and Animals The Dodo; BuzzFeed bought the HuffPost.

Athletic covers national and local sports – more than 200 teams, according to the Times. It was founded in 2016 and is aimed at sports fans willing to pay for stories. It has 1.2 million subscribers. Its website says it has more than 400 editorial staff, making it a major acquisition for The Times, which has more than 2,000 editorial staff.

The deal is expected to be finalized during the current quarter.

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