Derek “Godner” Bodner Leaving The Athletic

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Derek notes that Rich Hofmann is continuing with The Athletic, so the formerly three-man Sixers crew is down to one. It was originally Derek and Rich as full-time writers with Mike O’Connor contributing on a part-time basis. Mike moved over to RTRS in 2020 and writes articles on the podcast’s website.

Obviously there’s been a lot of recent news about The Athletic, which is exploring a sale. The site began in 2016 with a subscription-only model, and raised millions and millions of dollars through various rounds of fundraising. They expanded vigorously, so much so that you wondered who wasn’t joining The Athletic back in the day. But in recent years the whole thing has levelled off a bit, and in a recent Bloomberg article, Gerry Smith and Lucas Shaw write the following:

The San Francisco-based company, which is unprofitable and under growing pressure from investors to deliver a return, is currently exploring a sale, seeking a price of $600 million to $800 million, according to two people familiar with the matter. The New York Times did not reach a deal with the startup recently after crunching the numbers and assessing the value of The Athletic at less than $500 million, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Another reported suitor, the sports-betting company FanDuel, has also said it isn’t interested. (Disclosure: Bloomberg News previously had a subscription partnership with The Athletic, which is no longer active). 

To date, The Athletic has raised nearly $140 million from a range of investors, including Comcast Ventures, Waverley Capital and Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective. In October, The Information reported that The Athletic has enough cash to cover its needs for about the next eight months.

So they have to figure something out on the business side at The Athletic.

But anyway, Derek is a fantastic basketball mind, and I’m not just saying that because I sat next to him at the games. There’s a reason he got the “Godner” nickname, and he’ll have his pick of media outlets to work with, assuming he wants to continue in sports journalism. He was actually an information technology/computer guy before getting into writing. He had a gig at Philly Mag, and then Philly Mag got rid of all of their sports coverage for whatever dumb reason. So Derek went independent for a bit and then turned that into this most recent gig.