The New York Times announced today it will be eliminating its sports department as the company aims towards “an evolution in how we cover sports”. Sports news will now be covered by The Athletic, which was bought by The Times last year for $550 million in an attempt to expand its audience.
“Though we know this decision will be disappointing to some, we believe it is the right one for readers,” said Mr. Sulzberger and Meredith Kopit Levien, The Times’s Chief Executive.
The Atlantic has a staff of approximately 400 journalists who will handle all sports-related stories from here on out as this acquisition further integrates with the New York Times.
The thirty-five editors and journalists currently working in the Times’ sports division will be shifted to other roles. The company has confirmed there will be no layoffs due to this decision, though staffers are none too pleased with the decision to shut down the popular Pulitzer-winning sports department founded in 1927.
Thirty staffers addressed concerns over being left “twisting in the wind” since The Atlantic was purchased, sending a letter yesterday to the publisher of the Times, A.G. Sulzberger, and also Joe Kahn.
Executive Editor Joe Kahn and Deputy Managing Editor Monica Drake released the following statement in an email to staffers this morning:
“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. At the same time, we will scale back the newsroom’s coverage of games, players, teams, and leagues.”
The Atlantic has yet to make a profit for The New York Times, although subscription numbers have improved since March of this year, growing from 1 million subscribers to 3 million. However, the publication lost $7.8 million during the first quarter of 2023 so it is still on shaky ground.
The transition is slated to be finalized sometime this fall, though exact dates and details aren’t yet available.