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The Athletic’s paywall-based business model may not be working in the context of finding buyers or subscribers, so the writing staff appears to be turning to a new scheme to drive up readership: gaslighting the non-subscribers.
Atlanta Hawks beat reporter for The Athletic Chris Kirschner tweeted out an article on ATL’s regressing defense, which one Twitter critic said wasn’t worth the price of a subscription.
“Cool. Say you’re broke and continue about your day,” responded Kirschner.
Comments under Kirschner’s response weren’t too happy with the egocentric approach, considering his association to a site that has failed to garner subscribers worth attracting buyers, amid its desperate shopping around by founders Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann.
Atlanta’s Trae Young spotted the writer’s trashy tweet, like a Hawk, and responded, “Smh, who says this?!? I ain’t buying that article… what that make me?!”
A Bloomberg report looking at the site’s staggering path to finding a buyer stated that their content’s exclusivity to subscribers has hardly kept up with the turnover of readers that suspend or terminate their accounts.
With a bold claim that their business model would put low-level sports outlets out of business, The Athletic’s founders are now reticent on the promise first made when the site launched in 2016.
Mather and Hansmann have stuck to their asking price of $600-800 million for the site. At one point, the New York Times became a serious suitor to purchase The Athletic, until further evaluation of the company’s worth landed them at a value of “less than $500 million.”
OutKick’s Sam Amico reported that a key investor in the site advised interested buyers “to stay away” after personally getting involved and taking a financial “beating.”
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela