The Athletic Brings On Stewart Mandel, Seth Davis For College-Themed Publications
Subscription-based sports web site group The Athletic next month is "launching its first site devoted to national sports: a college football publication called The All-American," according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Overseen by veteran college football reporter Stewart Mandel, the site "plans to launch Aug. 28 with three to four writers, plus a freelance budget." A few months later, The Athletic will "launch a college basketball site with Seth Davis that will be called The Fieldhouse." The Athletic has "secured funding from companies" such as N.Y.-based venture capital firm Courtside Ventures and L.A.-based independent media holding company The Chernin Group. Earlier this year, The Athletic hired Paul Fichtenbaum, who used to manage Mandel and Davis at SI, and "helped recruit the two to come to the company." Former USA Today sports editor Daniel Uthman also is "joining The Athletic as a managing editor." Similar to the local sites that have launched in Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto and Detroit, the Mandel and Davis sites will "cost between $4 to $6 per month and will focus on a mixture of breaking news, analysis and long-form pieces" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/24 issue).
MONEY MATTERS: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Joshua Brustein notes The Athletic co-Founders Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann "hastily pulled together" $5.8M in "new capital from investors, in a round they closed last week." The Athletic "charges subscribers $40 annually for in-depth coverage of local sports in Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto and Detroit," as well as a soon-to-launch Bay Area site. The company said that it can "turn a profit in a city once it gets between 8,000 to 12,000 subscribers." It has "no plans to sell advertising." The Athletic said that its "most successful market, with over 10,000 subscribers" is Toronto. It is also the "only city where it turns a profit." Courtside Ventures, which led a $2.6M investment round in The Athletic in January, also "led this round." The Chernin Group, Luminari Capital, Advancit, BDMI, and Y Combinator also participated. The Athletic is "using the new capital to tweak its plans." The site plans to "triple its editorial staff to 75 and launch in three to four cities by the end of the year," including S.F. and Philadelphia (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 7/24).