Which Anonymous Former CEO Called The Matchup a 'Death Sentence' for The Athletic?

Glen Bartlett
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It's a tough to time to try anything new, let alone a startup with simple goals of selling a quality product at a fair price and draining the world's oceans to find and kill God. Sportico explored the climate for two recent ideas, Defector Media and The Matchup. The former is being driven by a cavalcade for ex-Deadspinners. The latter spawned this incredible anonymous quote.

The former CEO of a prominent sports media outlet said there is “enormous value”—from the fan perspective—in having access to the 2-5 articles/week that they might want to read but currently can’t because they reside behind a paywall (and it’s unrealistic to subscribe to each publication individually). The former chief executive we spoke to called The Matchup “a death sentence” for The Athletic, another outlet operating on a ‘subscribe to one market, get the rest free’ model. That’s because despite having raised +/- $140 million in venture capital, it lacks the resources Google has (Google Media Initiative is funding The Matchup) and has significantly greater operating costs.

Reading this spawned an idea for a startup of my own. A subscription service that allows you to see articles with the sources unmasked. How much could you charge for that? What could something like that cost, Michael? Ten dollars? Ten times that if you could expand it from sports into political reporting? Outside of the blatant ethical issues and assured diminishing returns as those sources dry up in the second month, it seems like a can't-miss.

Former CEO of a prominent sports media brand is pretty specific. That can only be, like 10 people. One of those 10 said it. And you can tell just how confident they were in the statement because they didn't put their name to it. Ironically, the very company he or she forecasted death and destruction for has been plagued for years from a similarly vivid and zero-sum quotation. At least co-founder Alex Mather owned and has continued to own that one.

Looking forward to looking back on this one in a few years in having a good laugh or ingesting a gross amount of crow.