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Local Media Consortium Launches ‘The Matchup’ to Give Sports Fans Coverage From Various Outlets

Stephanie Sengwe

Everyone is making a bid for live sports and the Local Media Consortium is the latest to try their hand at finding a new way to reach fans. According to Variety, the group launched “The Matchup,” a digital sports news platform that gives fans news about their favorite teams from a wide range of outlets outside of those covering it locally.

“The Matchup” will make it so “a Dallas Morning News subscriber who follows the Dallas Cowboys might be able to easily find and click on to other stories about the team in, for instance, The Philadelphia Inquirer,” Variety reported. The news outlet will compete with the likes of ESPN, The Athletic and Yahoo Sports.

“Local news organizations have a higher volume of sports content than really anybody out there, but it’s segmented by market,” Mike Orren, chief product officer of The Dallas Morning News stated. “This is basically the equivalent of ESPN.com or Yahoo Sports or The Athletic, but fueled by the content of all of our members – newspapers, radio stations and TV stations.”

Some of the members the Local Media Consortium that own local TV stations include Sinclair Broadcasting, Hubbard Broadcasting and Waterman Broadcasting.

Executives heading “The Matchup” are not expecting readers in specific markets to subscribe to news not local to them. However, a Dallas resident, for example may subscribe to the Dallas Morning News “knowing that doing so would get them access to sports news from around the nation.” The alternative would be for fans to “surf to dozens of individual news sites and face coming up against various paywalls in their quest to get additional information on specific professional and college teams,” Variety reported.

Live sports have been a hot topic lately as leagues slowly start to come back after being shutdown by the pandemic. Just last week, a report from The Hollywood Reporter revealed that analysts expect a huge response when live sports fully return later this summer.

Industry analyst Lisa Martin predicted that not only are sports coming back full throttle, but they’re also returning with new fans. Cord-nevers — the demographic of young viewers who have never before subscribed to pay-TV services — are expected to finally turn to cable for their live sports fix.

A separate study by ESPN found that 59 percent of sports fans are not only anxious to see live sports return to TV, but they plan on watching as much as they can. The number was up slightly from the 56 percent of respondents who said the same in a similar study conducted in April.

According to Multichannel, the new study also found that more fans are in favor of professional and college sports coming back without spectators. In the new survey, 78 percent of respondents said they would support resuming sports without fans in the stands. The number is up from 68 percent in April. Only 22 percent of respondents were opposed to the idea.

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