New York Times shutters sports desk, shifts coverage to The Athletic

Sports Desk
The New York Times building is seen in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 3, 2020. — Reuters
The New York Times building is seen in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 3, 2020. — Reuters

The New York Times has decided to disband its sports desk and shift the coverage to the website The Athletic, with Executive Director Joe Kahn and Deputy Managing Editor Monica Drake terming it "an evolution in how we cover sports" announced on Monday.

The publication bought the digital platform in January 2022 for $550 million in a bid to expand its sporting coverage.

The shuttering of the long-standing sports desk at the leading American newspaper is aimed at maximising the newsrooms for both publications, with a “greater abundance of sports coverage than ever before'.

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

“At the same time, we will scale back the newsroom’s coverage of games, players, teams and leagues.”

The shuttering of the sports desk, which was once a pillar of American sports journalism, represents a further integration into the newsroom of The Athletic.

After the change, the sports coverage, including news of leagues, teams, and players, both domestic and international, will rely on nearly 150 daily stories published by The Athletic. Meanwhile, articles from the digital platform will be featured in The New York Times print for the first time.

In a memo issued on Monday, New York Times Chairman AG Sulzberger and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien said there were “no plans for layoffs,” but the "newsroom leadership will actively work with all our Sports colleagues to ensure they land in the right roles.”

Meanwhile, the sports desk reporters and editors will be shifted to other desks around the newsroom, where some will continue to produce stories on other aspects of sports, such as business and power.