The New York Times has announced the disbandment of its sports department, opting to rely on coverage from The Athletic, the sports website acquired by the company last year. The move reflects the newspaper’s plan to reshape its approach to sports journalism.
Joe Kahn, The Times’ executive editor, and Monica Drake, a deputy managing editor, described the change as an “evolution in how we cover sports” in an email to the newsroom. They stated that the focus would be on distinctive, high-impact news and enterprise journalism exploring the intersection of sports with money, power, culture, politics, and society.
The integration of The Athletic into The New York Times newsroom began with the $550 million acquisition in January 2022. The Athletic brings a team of around 400 journalists covering over 200 professional sports teams. Under this new strategy, The Times will predominantly feature content from The Athletic, including articles in its print newspaper and online access for NYTimes.com subscribers.
Journalists from The Times sports desk will be reassigned to other roles within the newsroom, and no layoffs are planned among the more than 35 current journalists and editors. The business desk will cover financial and influential aspects of sports, while other sections will introduce new beats dedicated to sports coverage. These changes are expected to be implemented by the autumn.
This move raises questions about the future of The Times’ esteemed sports journalists, including Pulitzer Prize winners like Arthur Daley, Red Smith, and Dave Anderson. In recent years, the sports department experienced downsizing, including the elimination of its stand-alone print section, reflecting broader challenges faced by newspapers in the digital era.