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Apple News Plus gets The New York Times’ sports coverage, but not the NYT itself

Apple News Plus gets The New York Times’ sports coverage, but not the NYT itself

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Along with Wirecutter, The Athletic joins Apple News three years after The New York Times left Apple’s news app.

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Illustration of the Apple logo on a light and dark green background.
Illustration: The Verge

Articles published by New York Times-owned sports journal The Athletic and its staff of over 450 full-time writers, editors, and producers are now part of Apple News Plus, Apple’s $12.99 per month subscription news plan, in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia. Meanwhile, Wirecutter stories are also coming to Apple News and will start appearing in the free feed “early next year.”

Both publications have been off of Apple News since The New York Times left Apple’s news aggregator in 2020, blaming the lack of a “direct path” for readers to take back to its websites and saying it wanted more control of its relationship with its readers. While the Times reporting isn’t back, Athletic publisher David Perpich told Axios this new deal made “strategic business sense” for the sports outlet. He added that he hopes people will sign up for Athletic newsletters or “find other ways” back to its websites.

The writing staff of The New York Times and Wirecutter, like those at The Verge, are union members, while The Athletic’s staff is not. In July, the Times announced the closure of its sports desk to rely entirely on coverage from The Athletic, both online and in print. The NewsGuild of New York union that represents NYT writers filed a grievance over the move, calling it “a flagrant attempt at union-busting.”

Recent new features in the Apple news app include daily crossword puzzles and the Sports tab, and the app added subscriber-only audio stories in 2020. (Disclosure: Verge parent company Vox Media is part of Apple News Plus.)

A screenshot of the Apple News app, showiing a story from The Athletic.
The Athletic returns to Apple News.
Image: Apple

Apple News Plus had a rocky start with large news outlets, thanks to terms that included Apple’s reported 50 percent cut of the take for all subscriptions. The Guardian, which left Apple News in 2017, slowly rejoined the platform in the US in 2020 and the UK this year because, according to Press Gazette, the Apple News app was updated to let readers subscribe or donate to outlets. In another Press Gazette story, Atlantic CEO Nicholas Thompson mentioned that he was happy with the 61,000 new circulations Apple News Plus gave it without appreciably eating into its existing subscriber base.