The Athletic Thread

Okay . . . let's try this again.

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The Athletic Thread

Post by brian » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:33 pm

Can't believe we didn't/don't already have an Athletic-specific thread.

Look, I know you need a subscription to get it, but if you don't have a subscription yet, why the hell don't you have a subscription yet!

Anyway, this is the kind of content that you get and that I am here for.


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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by mister d » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:39 pm

I have a subscription and I really enjoy it right now ... but I also fully expect their end game is to kill off local news and other sports writing competition then fire a majority of the writers they paid well to join and build the place only to push out cheap bullshit.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by rass » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:42 pm

Subscribed (and listened) to their Penguins podcast yesterday. It was from the day before the season started, so pre-half of their centers being injured and therefore a bit out of date (if not sad given how excited they were for the rejuvenated Malkin tour), but still got me through my run.


PS - The Pens have had a knitting lady for years
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by brian » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:45 pm

rass wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:42 pm
Subscribed (and listened) to their Penguins podcast yesterday. It was from the day before the season started, so pre-half of their centers being injured and therefore a bit out of date (if not sad given how excited they were for the rejuvenated Malkin tour), but still got me through my run.


PS - The Pens have had a knitting lady for years
Yeah, the story even mentions it's not terribly unusual to see women knitting at sporting events but it was incongruent to see a college student doing it by herself in an empty section for a godawful Power Five team in a game where they were lucky not to lose by 60 points.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by Steve of phpBB » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:49 pm

mister d wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:39 pm
I have a subscription and I really enjoy it right now ... but I also fully expect their end game is to kill off local news and other sports writing competition then fire a majority of the writers they paid well to join and build the place only to push out cheap bullshit.
Do you have a specific basis for this concern, or just kind of a general suspicion?

Since the first three guys there were Chicago sportswriters / twitterers, I've been a subscriber since pretty close to day one and have really wanted them to succeed.
And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by rass » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:50 pm

brian wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:45 pm
rass wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:42 pm
Subscribed (and listened) to their Penguins podcast yesterday. It was from the day before the season started, so pre-half of their centers being injured and therefore a bit out of date (if not sad given how excited they were for the rejuvenated Malkin tour), but still got me through my run.


PS - The Pens have had a knitting lady for years
Yeah, the story even mentions it's not terribly unusual to see women knitting at sporting events but it was incongruent to see a college student doing it by herself in an empty section for a godawful Power Five team in a game where they were lucky not to lose by 60 points.
That seems knittist.
I felt aswirl with warm secretions.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by mister d » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:56 pm

Steve of phpBB wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:49 pm
Do you have a specific basis for this concern, or just kind of a general suspicion?
600K subscribers and they aren't all paying the full $60 annual fee, so its a *max* of only $36MM in sub revenue per year. There's no way that's covering costs, esp given their wiki listing of 300 full time editorial staff.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by brian » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:03 pm

mister d wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:56 pm
Steve of phpBB wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:49 pm
Do you have a specific basis for this concern, or just kind of a general suspicion?
600K subscribers and they aren't all paying the full $60 annual fee, so its a *max* of only $36MM in sub revenue per year. There's no way that's covering costs, esp given their wiki listing of 300 full time editorial staff.
I think your concerns are fair, but there are other revenue streams for them to tap in the future without needing to raise the subscription price point (special events are one of fastest growing revenue streams for operators in their space -- think CPAC but not right-wing nutjobs and for sports). I think once they reach a critical mass of subscriptions, there are some obvious places they can branch out to bring in more revenue. Corporate sponsorships/relationships is another obvious one as well. The business model doesn't require gutting content to become profitable.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by EnochRoot » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:13 pm

I've been a subscriber the past 12-15 months or so. Big fan.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by Steve of phpBB » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:15 pm

mister d wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:56 pm
Steve of phpBB wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:49 pm
Do you have a specific basis for this concern, or just kind of a general suspicion?
600K subscribers and they aren't all paying the full $60 annual fee, so its a *max* of only $36MM in sub revenue per year. There's no way that's covering costs, esp given their wiki listing of 300 full time editorial staff.
Certainly seems like a specific basis to me. Thanks.
And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by mister d » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:40 pm

brian wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:03 pm
The business model doesn't require gutting content to become profitable.
Agreed, if long-term sustainability was the goal. I'm not confident that's the goal here given the VC backing and the industry its in.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by brian » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:58 pm

Hate to keep agreeing with you but you're right to be skeptical about VC funding, but given how easy it is to unsubscribe that doesn't sound like a sound strategy. If The Athletic decided to gut it's NHL coverage, I could unsubscribe with all of about three clicks and even get my subscription fee refunded pro rata.

I look at it like Netflix but for journalism. Is Netflix a danger/disruptor to the TV or movie business? Sure, but is it ever going to completely dominate those industries? And of course the answer is no. It's apples and oranges to a certain extent because obviously the media industry is a lot more precarious and with fewer revenue streams, but local journalism is never gonna die.

Again, not apples to apples but the Texas Tribune and Nevada Independent are two models for how I think news will be gathered and delivered in the future. The non-profit model also essentially embraces local journalism as a public trust and you'll see more and more support from big foundations and the like, similar to how PBS is largely funded.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by A_B » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:13 pm

Wait...do you get a tote bag when you sign up for The Athletic? Game changer.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by DSafetyGuy » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:20 pm

brian wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:58 pm
Hate to keep agreeing with you but you're right to be skeptical about VC funding, but given how easy it is to unsubscribe that doesn't sound like a sound strategy. If The Athletic decided to gut it's NHL coverage, I could unsubscribe with all of about three clicks and even get my subscription fee refunded pro rata.
I also think that, because people are paying for the Athletic's content instead of getting it for free, like at Sports Illustrated, there is less overt need for venture capitalists to drive it into the ground. The monthly subscription is a guaranteed revenue stream and they can keep expanding their coverage to draw in more subscribers (and eventually increase the subscription cost). The cost of adding additional subscribers is almost nothing, so even getting new subscribers on board with reduced costs or referral credits has no budgetary offset. Throw in that the Athletic is not reliant on clicks for ads and it's almost a different industry.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by mister d » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:24 pm

I agree with a lot of that, I just can't can't see them being remotely close to breakeven and don't see how they'll get there without unprecedented subscriber growth. At a bare minimum, if it doesn't end up all bad, I would guess they'd eventually cut the higher priced name writers once their own brand surpasses those they've hired away.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by DSafetyGuy » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:41 pm

mister d wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:24 pm
I agree with a lot of that, I just can't can't see them being remotely close to breakeven and don't see how they'll get there without unprecedented subscriber growth. At a bare minimum, if it doesn't end up all bad, I would guess they'd eventually cut the higher priced name writers once their own brand surpasses those they've hired away.
They can always do another round of raising capital (they've confirmed over $90 million raised, there is a media claim it is over $100 million - figures from June). They can add more podcasts behind their paywall or increase the cost on those.

I just think it comes back to the subscription structure being a different animal than a legacy media company that gives its stuff away for free. No one really complains about the local paper's quality when reading it for free online, but no one wants to pay for their "terrible coverage" when they have to subscribe.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by mister d » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:43 pm

So raising capital of ~3x annual sub revenue to what end for investors?
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by Steve of phpBB » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:46 pm

mister d wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:43 pm
So raising capital of ~3x annual sub revenue to what end for investors?
Isn't is possible their subscriber base will continue to grow and reach a self-sustaining level? Especially as they move into more countries and more sports?
And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by mister d » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:50 pm

Maybe? Would Spain want La Liga coverage from an american all-sports company or do they already have that covered over there? Based on my feed, they're already maxing out on solid PL work, no idea if that's also for people "over the pond" or just us here.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by brian » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:59 pm

If you assume their costs are fairly fixed (infrastructure, hosting, then the usual costs of writers and editors) and they've probably built out their maximum needs for all of that at this point, which is probably pretty accurate, then they shouldn't need too much additional VC money but they've probably only scratched the surface of the income they can generate. Honestly 500K subscribers seems crazy low to me considering just about everyone I know subscribes (given, me and my friends are essentially their ideal target market).

I wouldn't be shocked if they could push that to a couple million in a couple of years. Even with subsidizing some of those subscriptions with discounts, that's about $75M/year in revenue and that's before they tap any other potential revenue streams.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by sancarlos » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:09 pm

Steve of phpBB wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:46 pm
mister d wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:43 pm
So raising capital of ~3x annual sub revenue to what end for investors?
Isn't is possible their subscriber base will continue to grow and reach a self-sustaining level? Especially as they move into more countries and more sports?
I worked for a somewhat notorious little high tech company for a couple years, 20 years ago in the first high tech stock bubble. The losses and cash drain kept piling up every quarter, but there were always guys who say, "but, we are still growing and look how much name brand recognition we're getting!" Set a record on Nasdaq the first day of trading for stock appreciation - two years later, the company was almost out of business.

I sure hope that doesn't happen to The Athletic. It's a great product and I'm a happy subscriber.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by wlu_lax6 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:36 pm


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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by rass » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:04 pm

Image
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by brian » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:06 pm

The truth is if it implodes it's probably gonna do so spectacularly so I'm here for the spectacle of that as well.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by DSafetyGuy » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:50 am

They're also not a company with obscenely exaggerated self-valuations trying to make as much money as possible so top executives can slash and burn for profit as they run out the door.
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by mister d » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:35 am

(Saved.)
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by Ryan » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:42 am

he’s a fixbking cyborg or some shit. The

holy fuckbAllZ, what a ducking nightmare. Holy shot. Just, fuck. The

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by DSafetyGuy » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:18 pm

mister d wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:35 am
(Saved.)
I know. It just seems that creating a new media outlet is the opposite of how it normally works.
“All I'm sayin' is, he comes near me, I'll put him in the wall.”

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by wlu_lax6 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:01 pm


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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by govmentchedda » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:55 pm

Where the F is Dom? I need my hockey leans!
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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by Sabo » Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:37 pm

Hey Bengal, Jay Morrison wrote an article today that's right up your alley. It's about the dreaded "dead cat bounce" and how it's negatively affected the Bengals draft over the years. I read it and immediately thought of you.

https://theathletic.com/1439986/2019/12 ... -gonzalez/
Mallards rule.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by Giff » Wed Dec 11, 2019 5:10 pm

They had a pretty good fuck-up on their podcast yesterday about the Knicks. The new head coach is Mike Miller, but not the recent NBA player who was drafted in 2000.
Muh.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by tennbengal » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:32 pm

Sabo wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:37 pm
Hey Bengal, Jay Morrison wrote an article today that's right up your alley. It's about the dreaded "dead cat bounce" and how it's negatively affected the Bengals draft over the years. I read it and immediately thought of you.

https://theathletic.com/1439986/2019/12 ... -gonzalez/
It haunts me.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by wlu_lax6 » Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:53 pm

Thousands of words on the water fountain, the pictures, world cup.
https://theathletic.com/1448748/2019/12 ... ed-article

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by Sabo » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:38 pm

Mallards rule.

So do cassowaries.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by govmentchedda » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:31 pm

I took a two hour nap and cried during parks and Rec. it was awesome and terrifying.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by Sabo » Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:54 pm

Mallards rule.

So do cassowaries.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by wlu_lax6 » Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:22 pm

Just reading they raised another $50M in funding.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by govmentchedda » Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:13 pm

Alright, alright, alright.
I took a two hour nap and cried during parks and Rec. it was awesome and terrifying.

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Re: The Athletic Thread

Post by mister d » Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:24 pm

Ha ha like OutKast or something whatever fuck off TurdRyan.
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