New York Times to Close Sports Desk, Rely on the the Athletic for Daily Coverage

From a Wall Street Journal story by Alexandra Bruell headlined “New York Times to Close Sports Desk, Rely on the the Athletic for Daily Coverage”:

The New York Times said it is dismantling its sports desk and will rely on the Athletic for its daily sports coverage, part of an effort to further integrate the publication it bought for $550 million last year.

Current sports staff will be offered other roles within the Times newsroom, Executive Editor Joseph Kahn and Deputy Managing Editor Monica Drake said in a memo to staff.

They also said the Times would form a group within its business section focused on covering money and power in sports.

“We plan to focus even more directly on distinctive, high-impact news and enterprise journalism about how sports intersect with money, power, culture, politics and society at large,” they said. “At the same time, we will scale back the newsroom’s coverage of games, players, teams and leagues.”

The decision comes as the Times goes all in on its strategy to sell subscriptions to a multi-product offering, including news, games and sports, and justify its Athletic purchase. The site is currently losing money and set a goal to turn a profit by 2025.

“We intend to utilize The Athletic—which has among the largest sports newsrooms in the world—to provide Times readers with a greater abundance of sports coverage than ever before,” said Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien said.

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