The Athletic

From the MVP
to Home Run

Personalized, in-depth reporting of your favorite teams and leagues

The Opportunity

The Athletic has set a new standard in sports journalism, proving since its debut in January 2016 that die-hard fans are willing to pay for high-quality, detailed content.

This savvy digital media startup relies on subscriptions as well as brand-name sports writers — not ad revenue — to fuel its growth. And it’s paying off. The business strategy has netted the company millions of dollars in VC funding as well as a rapidly expanding user base.

The Athletic launched its coverage in Chicago, and in its first two years, grew to more than 20 markets across the US and Canada.


The Challenge

Silicon Valley startup veterans Alex Mather and Adam Hansman are on a mission to turn The Athletic into the next Netflix or Spotify.

They want to introduce their subscription-based solution in every North American market with a professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey or soccer team. The goal is to bring readers back to the sports pages again.

They wowed Y Combinator — thanks to STRV’s quickly developed MVP. Secured sizable investment funding in their seed round. And then asked us to continue scaling the app to ensure the UX stays smooth, attractive and competitive.

We started with iOS and later added Android for phones as well as tablets to the offer.


Our Solution

We built the app from scratch. We started working on the iOS version while The Athletic was still in the beginning stages of Y Combinator. Three of our senior iOS developers were quickly able to deliver a working MVP to the YC judges’ panel.

We completely redesigned the app a few times as coverage expanded. We had to keep the UI simple and convenient to use. During development we suggested specific interactions and animations. Together with The Athletic designer, we created a unique user interface, using parallax animations and gestures. We implemented a special design for larger tablet screens.

Become a fan of The Athletic's outstanding sports coverage today! Launch the site or download the apps:

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