Updated: Aug 4, 2021
Online sports collaboration offers 78 million enthusiasts multi-market access to content about their favorite teams, players and topics
NEW YORK, July 27, 2020 – The Local Media Consortium, a strategic alliance of local media companies whose members produce more than 90% of local news and sports journalism in the United States, today announced the launch of The Matchup, a collaborative online sports platform. Supported by funding from the Google News Initiative, The Matchup provides fans with access to high quality, locally produced sports stories and coast-to-coast content, giving local media organizations a means to broaden their audience and compete with top sports hubs for advertising revenue.
“As live sports make a comeback and fans clamor for related content, the time is now for local publishers to collaborate and create a compelling online sports product to enhance the experience of local and national sports fans through aggregated, curated local-market professional, college and high school sports content,” said Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC. “With a combined audience of 78 million unique sports enthusiasts and journalists covering the lion’s share of college and professional sports team markets, our members are uniquely positioned to compete with the likes of top sports platforms like The Athletic, Bleacher Report, and ESPN for eyeballs and ad dollars right out of the starting gate.”
Phase one of The Matchup will enable content sharing between local news sites. During the coming NFL season, LMC members will share sports news and commentary between their sites via a feature that allows subscribers of one site to consume content regardless of which member site originated it, without any additional fees. Some beta markets will launch later this month, with full coverage expected by January 2021.
Later in 2021, The Matchup will launch a destination sports site with content from all members. Subscribers to member media outlets will have free access to The Matchup. Any reader who wants to access the platform will need to subscribe to a participating local media outlet and will then have a free pass to the largest collection of locally produced sports content anywhere.
“Local media is vital to bringing important news to its community and that applies to sports coverage as well,” said Mike Orren, CPO of The Dallas Morning News, who is the LMC board member spearheading the project. “Whether you are an enthusiast who wants everything or a single-team fan who wouldn’t otherwise buy a sports subscription, The Matchup delivers, while supporting the mission of local news organizations.”
The Matchup was born out of the notion that nobody covers The Dallas Cowboys like The Dallas Morning News. The same is true for other sports franchises and their local publications across the country, but it is prohibitive for consumers to subscribe to fifty different publications to get that in-depth coverage.
“With such a large portion of sports content generated by local news outlets, it makes sense for local media to expand its digital transformation through sports content consumption,” said David Brooks, Head of News & Local Media at Google. “The Google News Initiative is committed to helping journalism thrive in the digital age and we are happy to support this exciting endeavor.”
Offering an opportunity for local publishers to monetize sports content more broadly, advertising and sponsorship packages on The Matchup will be sold direct on a national and local level, enabling the local media ad network aggregate to compete with national platforms. Designed with input from member publishers, News Catalyst, sports editors, advertisers and die-hard sports readers, The Matchup offers the best of both worlds – a national sports site and local consumer relationships.
Local media organizations interested in participating in The Matchup content sharing model can inquire at Matchup@localmediaconsortium.com. Aficionados who want to know how they can access sports content no matter which city they’re in can visit www.thematchup.com or follow @MatchupTeam on Twitter.
About The Local Media Consortium
The Local Media Consortium delivers economic value through strategic partnerships on behalf of nearly 90 local media companies in top markets across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and includes more than 3,300 outlets. By harnessing the combined volume and scale of its members, the LMC reduces costs and increases revenue with technology and service providers like Google, Facebook, Monster and others. The aggregated LMC audience footprint spans 1 billion unique monthly visitors and its member companies serve more than 6 billion pageviews to consumers. More information is available at http://www.localmediaconsortium.com/.
About The Google News Initiative (GNI)
The Google News Initiative represents Google's effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Through its partnerships, programs and products, the Google News Initiative works with thousands of organizations worldwide to support quality independent journalism, financial sustainability, and development of new technologies that drive innovation. Google allocated $300 million over three years to energize these collaborations, and to lay the foundation for new products and programs for a diverse set of news publishers, to benefit the entire ecosystem. Learn more at g.co/newsinitiative.
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Kristin Brocoff, 949-400-4899
Christina Gillham, 646-868-5174
Update 7/31/21: While The MatchUp pilot achieved some positive outcomes, after careful consideration the LMC has decided to discontinue The MatchUp initiative effective July 31, 2021.