Former manager at The Athletic
- The Athletic's premium sports media platform positioning
- Sports media competitive landscape, including value prop of players such as Barstool and Disney's (NYSE: DIS) ESPN platform
- The Athletic’s road to profitability, highlighting reported prioritisation of subscribers vs ad revenue and potential pricing challenges
- Merits and drawbacks of sports betting platform media acquisitions, including potential implications for The Athletic's sale to OSB/iGaming platforms
What’s your outlook for the sports media landscape over the next 12-18 months?
How does The Athletic fit within the broader sports media landscape?
What are your thoughts on The Athletic’s business model and how it’s evolved?
Could you compare The Athletic to ESPN+? Does The Athletic have any advantages within the sports media market? What attributes might make consumers want to pay a premium for The Athletic subscription vs ESPN+?
Who other than ESPN+ do you consider to be The Athletic’s most credible threats in providing the localised content you mentioned?
Could you elaborate on the competitors who you suggested are more focused on the cultural nature of the content – Barstool and The Ringer? Does The Athletic deliberately shy away from cultural commentary?
Do you consider it a risk that The Athletic isn’t pursing similar commentary to Ringer and Barstool? Alternatively, is it a benefit?
Could you rank The Athletic vs ESPN, Barstool, The Ringer and SB Nation vs other media properties not necessarily within the sports media space?
Could you estimate the subscriber overlap between the crowd that subscribes to The Athletic and ESPN+?
How are consumers leveraging different sources for information within sports? What about the overlap of consumers that leverage sports betting platforms, including that of DraftKings and FanDuel? To what extent would those users leverage data or information from The Athletic vs Barstool?
Some press seems to indicate that The Athletic has focused on subscription revenues rather than advertising. What are your thoughts on this strategy? In earlier days, digital media upstarts would usually go after advertisers rather than subscriptions. Why do you think The Athletic took this approach vs what we know has worked previously?
Do you have any other thoughts around routes to monetisation or The Athletic’s monetisation strategy on the road to profitability?
You mentioned there are already pricing concerns as The Athletic attempts to become profitable. How might the company derive incremental value or share of wallet from each user on its platform?
What are your thoughts on the core user base, considering regional penetration, income band and average age ranges?
What are your thoughts on churn and retention?
What are some of the retention challenges? Given the pricing, how would frame churn risk particularly for younger users?
What is your outlook for churn? What do you find is a healthy annual churn rate for The Athletic?
Do you think that 10% annual churn is too aggressive or about in line with what management would expect from the user base?
What change to the model do you think could potentially drive more subscribers to the platform? Is it purely a pricing issue that makes it hard to justify its relative value for those subscribed or interested in subscribing?
It there potentially a content issue around offering more coverage on specific sports that The Athletic doesn’t have robust coverage on?
How should we think about The Athletic’s longer-term content strategy in relation to its partnership with BetMGM?
What are the potential risks around online sports betting and iGaming platforms bringing digital sports media platforms into the fold?
What might be the clear synergies in a FanDuel-The Athletic merger or transaction?
Do you find that FanDuel or DraftKings would benefit from a higher-quality user base that they would get access to via The Athletic? Alternatively, might they already have captured most of the consumers and subscribers to The Athletic and so would have no need for The Athletic?
Penn National Gaming acquired TheScore – another sports media platform – in October 2021 and justified the transaction as a way of controlling the gaming, media and tech ecosystem. Do you think companies such as DraftKings or FanDuel would accomplish something similar by pursuing The Athletic?
Who do you think The Athletic would be a perfect target for from the online sports betting and iGaming sector? Would BetMGM make sense, given their existing partnership?
In one of its funding rounds, it was reported that The Athletic would be using its new cash infusion to grow its editorial operations overseas. What other key priorities might the company benefit from around growth trajectory investments?
What are your thoughts on The Athletic’s management team? How would you grade its strategic vision vs ability to execute? What management moves would you question or highlight?
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