Dating back to 1886, Sporting News is one of the country’s oldest sports publications and brands. For previous generations, it was viewed as “The Bible of Baseball” for its coverage of the national pastime. But the magazine covered each of the four major pro sports before taking what turned out to be a costly gamble in devoting more resources to NASCAR in the 1990s.
Yet the outlet has undergone several drastic changes under different owners during the past 20 years, such as removing “The” from its title and shuttering its print edition to become a digital-only publication in 2012. Most recently, the publication was run by DAZN after being spun off from parent company Perform Group (which acquired the property in 2013).
And now, Sporting News may be experiencing its most significant revision yet. As first reported by Sportico’s Eben Novy-Williams, DAZN has sold the sports outlet to PAX Holdings, an investment firm based in the U.K. and Hong Kong with interests in gaming, information technology, and real estate.
PAX’s investments in gaming are pointing to the possibility that Sporting News could become an affiliate partner for companies like Betfair, an online betting exchange that also runs a sportsbook. A brand name familiar to sports fans, albeit fans who remember the magazine, might attract new customers and provide a level of credibility to information provided to sports bettors.
Some sports gambling platforms have also made an effort to boost media content to offer users. For instance, writer Teddy Greenstein recently left the Chicago Tribune for an editor position with PointsBet Sportsbook.
For DAZN, selling off Sporting News (and soccer site Goal.com earlier this year) is an effort to streamline its operation and focus more on its core sports streaming business. But the lack of live sports available during the COVID-19 shutdown significantly reduced revenues, resulting in layoffs in its production and marketing departments.
Additionally, DAZN appears to be concentrating more on a global reach, emphasizing boxing and soccer, rather than cover domestic sports like Major League Baseball. (The network canceled its MLB wraparound show, Change Up, in July.)