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FanDuel, DraftKings Among Those Eyeing The Athletic

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Fantasy sports giants FanDuel and DraftKings are among those who have put in bids to take over sports-subscription website The Athletic, according to The Information and Front Office Sports.

The Athletic has lost close to $100 million over the last two years and has hired LionTree investment firm to find a buyer after unsuccessfully locating one itself. Prior to hiring LionTree, The Athletic held failed merger or takeover talks with both the New York Times and Axios, reportedly negotiating with the Times on two separate occasions.

The Athletic underwent a round of layoffs around the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and while it touts its localized sites, is still missing some writers covering key beats (such as the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Florida Panthers).

Nonetheless, The Athletic is projecting $77 million in revenue with $35 million in net losses this year, according to Front Office Sports. It has never hit the mark with its projections, however, which is likely why it is seeking someone with the finances to afford a big risk.

Co-founders Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann launched The Athletic in 2016 with the idea of generating all revenue from subscriptions and renewals. The site immediately brought on multiple highly regarded sportswriters, and currently provides ad-free national and local coverage in 47 North American cities, as well as the United Kingdom.

FanDuel, a partner of OutKick, has experienced great success over the past year and expects its growth to continue.

“FanDuel parent company Flutter Entertainment recorded $902 million in revenue during the first half of the year and expects its U.S. business to turn a profit for the first time in 2023, while DraftKings’ second-quarter revenue grew 297% year-over-year to $298 million,” Front Office Sports wrote.

The Athletic’s current list of investors includes Courtside Ventures, Founders Fund and Powerhouse Capital.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

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