Reader's Corner

With sports, local newspapers try 'unbundling' the subscription

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The rookie campaigns of many newspapers' digital sports subscriptions are over. Now comes the work of developing the standalone subscription products into long-lasting sources of revenue.

After the success of The Athletic proved that sports coverage is a passion area that can drive people to take out their wallets, newspapers carved out their sports coverage as discrete subscription products. The bet is these products, while priced lower than a full digital subscription, will draw in sports fans who primarily rely on the publication for sports coverage versus, say, city hall reporting. Newspaper publishers ranging from Hearst to McClatchy to The Dallas Morning News all piled into the space, and upstart news publications such as the Daily Memphian, which launched in the fall of 2018, did too.

For example, McClatchy, which has put a sports content product called SportsPass out in 10 of its 30 markets since launching its first in August 2018, is figuring out how to expand SportsPass past its core offering of unlimited access to that market's sports content for $30 per year. It is kicking around ideas ranging from conference calls with reporters to exclusive livestreams on Facebook, Miami Herald managing editor Rick Hirsch said.

Read more from Digiday.

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