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NY Times is dismantling its sports department in favor of a new strategy. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
NY Times is dismantling its sports department in favor of a new strategy. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The New York Times is shelving its sports department

Instead, the sports coverage will be coming from The Athletic, which the publication purchased last year.

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On July 10, the New York Times announced that it would be disbanding its sports department, instead opting to utilize The Athletic as the primary source of its sports coverage.

In the words of NY Times executive editor John Kahn and deputy managing editor Monica Drake, the change represents “an evolution in how we cover sports.”

“We plan to focus even more directly on distinctive, high-impact news and enterprise journalism and how sports intersect with money, power, culture, politics and society at large,” the editors wrote in an email to the NY Times’ newsroom.

This new development comes less than two years after the NY Times announced its purchase of The Athletic in an effort to expand its sports coverage to a wider audience. The deal was valued at $550 million. 

Once the move was finalized, it brought the NY Times’ sports desk of more than 35 journalists and editors together with around 400 journalists at The Athletic, who covered more than 200 professional sports teams and published an average of 150 articles per day. The two teams operated separately, however. 

The staff of The Athletic will now provide the bulk of the sports coverage for NY Times readers, including sporting events, athletes, and leagues. In addition, for the first time, The Athletic will appear in the NY Times’ print newspaper. 

“We intend to utilize The Athletic — which has among the largest sports newsrooms in the world — to provide Times readers with a greater abundance of sports coverage than ever before,” said NY Times chief executive Kopit Levien in a memo.

While the sports desk will no longer be, Khan and Drake noted that journalists will move into other roles within the newsroom, and no layoffs were planned. 

“Under our plan, the digital homepage, newsletters, social feeds, the sports landing page and the print section will draw from even more of the approximately 150 stories The Athletic produces each day chronicling leagues, teams and players across the United States and around the globe,” they wrote.

Instead, a group on the business desk will cover money and power in sports, while new beats covering sports will be added to other sections.

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