The Athletic

/ 2017

The Athletic — A personalized, subscription-based sports website that provides ad-free national and local coverage of your favorite teams.

Long story short 

Before The Athletic hit 1 million subscribers, the ad-free sports website was once a startup in the Y Combinator that turned to STRV for help. We built the iOS MVP in time to impress the YC judges, later adding Android and tablets to the mix.  

The Athletic Highlights

— Has raised a total of $139.5 million over 5 rounds
— Reached the 1 million subscribers milestone (2020)
— Acquired by the NY Times Co. for $550 million
— See The Athletic’s Clutch review of STRV (★5.0)

Services / Deliverables

— Product Design
— iOS Engineering
— Android Engineering


iOS ↗
Android ↗

About The Athletic


The Athletic set a new standard in sports journalism. Since its debut in January 2016, the subscription-based sports website has proven that die-hard fans are willing to pay for high-quality, detailed content.

In 2020, the platform reached the 1 million subscribers milestone. Providing ad-free national and local coverage in 47 North American cities and the UK, The Athletic relies on subscriptions — not ad revenue — to fuel its growth. And it’s paid off.

The Athletic has raised a total of $139.5 million over five rounds and, after nabbing top sportswriters from the nation’s local newspapers, it now publishes more than 200 stories per day.

The initial apps that they created were successful and enabled us to raise $100 million.
Alex Mather
Alex MatherFounder, The Athletic



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

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

Thanks to STRV’s quickly developed MVP, they wowed Y Combinator and secured sizable investment funding in their seed round. The duo 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 and tablets to the offer.



STRV 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 engineers were quickly able to deliver a working MVP to the YC judges’ panel.

We completely redesigned the app a few times as coverage expanded, making sure 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. And finally, we implemented a special design for larger tablet screens. From there, we proudly watched The Athletic thrive.