The Athletic is now charging $71.99 per year for new and existing subscribers. A yearly subscription previously cost $59.99. Annual subscribers are still paying less than month-to-month subscribers.
“We have got 450 reporters, writers, editors, producers on three continents producing as much volume as any national newspaper in the world per week,” The Athletic CEO and founder Alex Mather said in an interview with Variety. “We are still at the same price point.”
To his credit, The Athletic has not increased prices at all until this week. “We want to continue to build,” he says, and the subscription increase “really just helps that mission.”
The Athletic has been rumored in acquisition deals throughout 2021 but reported agreements with Axios and The New York Times Company never came to fruition. Mather did not tip his hand on any merger deals to Variety.
“The strategic environment is pretty wild and I’m sure it will continue to be that way,” Mather said. “We’ve got to forge our own path here.”
Price hikes have been a theme in sports media lately after ESPN+ announced a $1 per month increase on their plans and NBCUniversal upped 30-second Super Bowl spot pricing from $5.8 million to $6.2 million, according to media buyers. A move that hasn’t hurt demand after reports surfaced that the company has already sold 85% of its inventory for February’s Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
Mather is encouraged by the content diet of his subscribers, noting that more than 80% of subscribers use the site to keep up with more than two different sports leagues. Additionally, more than 40% of subscribers consume content from more than four leagues each month.
The Athletic is banking on that diversity as sports return to normal across the world.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Jemele Hill: Spotify ‘Has Given Me The Same Treatment’ As Joe Rogan
“It wouldn’t have made any sense for me to end the relationship with Spotify, which would have been very costly and wanting to make sure this network got off the ground was very important to me.”
Back in June 2021, Jemele Hill signed a deal with Spotify to launch her own podcast network, The Unbothered Network, so she could provide more voices for black women. Over the last year, she has been able to tell many stories, but the business relationship can sometimes be a tricky one.
Hill was a guest on the That’s What She Said with Sarah Spain podcast, which Spain called her “last, for now” episode this week and she said that in any business relationship she has, she wants to know how the company will respond when she says something that people might deem controversial.
“Mostly what I think about now with the business relationships that I have is inevitably, I’m going to say something that’s going to be ahead of my time. When this happens, what’s going to be your response? That determines a lot. This Spotify relationship. All I can tell people is it’s complicated.”
One name Hill brought up on the podcast is Spotify’s business relationship with Joe Rogan and while Hill doesn’t agree with Rogan, she knows Spotify won’t ever ask her to change how she thinks:
“I don’t know Joe Rogan, I’m not here for Joe Rogan. He’s terrible. He irresponsibly uses his platform all the time. The way Spotify operates is it’s like the McDonald’s corporation. They lend out franchises. Maybe it would be a different conversation if they had ever come to me and said you know what, you can’t say that but they let Joe Rogan say whatever. That would be different.
“In their minds, they are just like we’re just the platform. Yes, we will clean up what we can but other than that, it’s out of our hands. They have given me the same treatment. If that were different, I’d say we have a problem here, but we don’t.
“On top of that, with me developing this podcast network for black women, that’s more important than Joe Rogan. It wouldn’t have made any sense for me to end the relationship with Spotify, which would have been very costly and wanting to make sure this network got off the ground was very important to me. I’m not going to walk away from that for somebody I don’t know.”
Hill told Spain that when she left ESPN in 2018, she still had multiple years left on her contract and she could have stayed, but she wanted to feel she could say whatever she wants to say.
“I could have stayed at ESPN. I had 3 more years left on my contract. That would not have been an issue. It was about the fact that I knew that I had more to say in different spaces and being there wasn’t going to allow me to do it. It felt constricting to be there. It doesn’t feel constricting for me to be at The Atlantic or Spotify. I can pretty much say what I want to say.
“That’s not to even suggest that I have something so earth-shattering to say, but I can do it without some of the other corporate politics that I would have had to deal with at ESPN. I can pretty much blast the NFL into oblivion at The Atlantic because they don’t have a business relationship with the NFL.”
In her post-ESPN ventures, Hill mentioned she enjoys that she can pick whichever projects she wants to be a part of.
“What I love is that when an opportunity comes in, it’s only one email, it’s me. There’s no kicking it upstairs, there’s no let me go see. I just respond yes or no or my assistant responds yes or no. I don’t have to run it past anybody. That freedom is invaluable.”
“Another thing that I like about this season I am in in my career is that I do get to cherry-pick certain projects. I’ve got to hustle like everybody else, don’t get me wrong, but the things I’m involved with, I’m super passionate about. That feels good to know you are pouring into something that you feel like is meaningful.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Stephen A. Smith Pushes Back On Being Labeled A ‘Sellout’
“You want to criticize me and what my positions are, I’m good with that. Y’all tell me why. If you’re right, I’ll say so.”
Stephen A. Smith has strongly pushed back on his critics after he refused to condemn Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones after a photo from The Washington Post surfaced of a 14-year-old Jones witnessing the integration of North Little Rock High School in 1957 from the steps of the school with others harassing the black students trying to enter.
During his Know Mercy podcast, Smith said he can only be called a “sellout” and a racial epithet “so much before you feel compelled to respond”.
“Y’all wanna attack everybody! Why don’t we listen to one another?” Smith asked. “I’m not friends with Candace Owens, I never met her a day in my life. But if you disagree with something she said, tell us what it is and why rather than saying ‘She a sellout!’ That’s easy, why? Let’s educate ourselves. Why would you think that? Why? Argue her facts.
“You want to criticize me and what my positions are, I’m good with that. Y’all tell me why. If you’re right, I’ll say so. You know how hard it is for me to listen to people that have worked in this industry for years with the stuff I know about them, listening to them and their drivel, talking nonsense about me?
“They ain’t do a damn thing to help our community! I put my career on the line everyday fighting for us. And we’re gonna go out like that? Because I don’t agree with y’all position on a still photo from 66 years ago. Really? We better wake up y’all.”
Pat McAfee Show Listener Crashed Packers Thanksgiving Day Meal
“Somebody who watched the show, went over to Molly’s house with some sort of pie saying it was from me and then wouldn’t leave.
The Green Bay Packers had a lovely team meal together on Thanksgiving Day in the lead-up to their game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, but apparently the party got crashed by a Pat McAfee Show listener who was tipped off to where the gathering was taking place.
In his weekly appearance with McAfee Tuesday, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers claimed someone who caught Rodgers talking about spending turkey day at the home of kicker Mason Crosby managed to show up uninvited and unannounced.
Rodgers towards the end of his hit wanted to get a message out there to those tuning in to The Pat McAfee Show on YouTube.
“I just want to get this PSA out there. Listen, don’t be a freaking weirdo, OK?” Rodgers said. “Somebody who watched the show, went over to Molly’s house with some sort of pie saying it was from me and then wouldn’t leave. I’m just saying this, that’s creepy and don’t be that person.”
Rodgers wouldn’t elaborate on how the intruder was handled, but it was clear that the person managed to figure out where the Crosbys live and thought it would be funny to crash the party.
McAfee went slightly on the defensive, trying to distance himself and his show from the actions of an overzealous fan.
“I don’t think they’re from our show,” Pat said. “They’re from something else. They probably follow you on Instagram or something.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.