In late July, The Athletic announced it had surpassed the 500,000 subscriber plateau. That figure has climbed over 600,000 with the goal of a million by year’s end. The ever-expanding site is closely monitored because it is, in many ways, a trial balloon for the future of the sports journalism industry and though there’s been some friction with free models it seeks to supplant, the project has plenty of outside journalists rooting for its success.
At least from my perspective. Co-founder Adam Hansmann has zeroed in on the doubters and built upon them for a hypothetical situation that could arise in September of 2024 when The Athletic has more than 10 million subscribers, is bigger than the New York Times, and is still being questioned.
Those are lofty goals. If The Athletic reaches them, the disrespect will be dulled a bit because, hey, that’s a profitable enterprise right there.
Anyway, print this out, file it away, and let’s bring it out in a few years and see how it looks. A safe prediction: The Athletic probably won’t put a man on Mars by then, but will probably have interest in getting a local site there when/if human life proves to be viable.