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Sunday, June 16, 2024

UK Hiring Spree for The Athletic Creating Massive Industry Changes

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else.

It was not too long ago that the New York Times ran an article with the headline of “Why The Athletic Wants to Pillage Newspapers”.

Fresh off a new funding round and plans to hire at least 55 people in the UK according to Digiday, The Athletic has created what some are calling a “journalist transfer window.”

Publications are having “crisis” meetings…

According to BuzzFeed News reporter Mark Di Stefano, the hiring being done by The Athletic has left some publications to question how they will approach their soccer coverage going forward.  

One of the publications, the Times, has had multiple “crisis meetings” in recent weeks about the future of its football coverage.

Wine and dine…

According to Di Stefano, some of the biggest names in sports writing in the UK have been courted by the publication like a team would court an NBA free agent.

Over the course of the last few months, one of the Athletic’s cofounders set up shop at a lavish London hotel and met one by one with soccer reporters.

The pitch? How they intend to “disrupt” the soccer journalism market.

Rising tides lift all boats…

It’s not all doom and gloom for other publications. 

According to people who spoke with Di Stefano, the moves being made by the upstart subscription media company have caused other publications to allocate more resources to their staff. 

“The whole thing, it has set off a bomb. Not just that there’s now 50 new jobs, but newsroom managers are trying to protect their teams. Reporters and editors are going to management to ask for more resources … and they’re giving them.”

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