The Local Media Consortium is making it easier for sports fans to access coverage of their favorite teams.
Inspired by the notion that “nobody covers the Dallas Cowboys like The Dallas Morning News,” but acknowledging the prohibitive cost to readers to subscribe to many publications for in-depth coverage, The Matchup will deliver locally produced, coast-to-coast content to audiences.
The platform also provides media organizations with the opportunity to expand their audiences and compete with other sports hubs, such as The Athletic and Bleacher Report for ad 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," stated Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC.”
The Matchup will unroll in phases, with phase one designed to allow sharing between local news sites and going into beta in some markets this month. Full coverage is expected in January 2021.
According to Wills, the LMC delivers a combined audience of 78 million unique sports enthusiasts and journalists that cover of most college and professional sports team markets.
"Local media is vital to bringing important news to its community, and that applies to sports coverage as well," stated Mike Orren, CPO of The Dallas Morning News, 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."
LMC members will be able to share sports news and commentary across sites during the upcoming NFL season, regardless of who first published it. No additional fees will be applied.
A destination sports site is also slated for launch later in 2021. The site will host content from all Matchup members and will provide free access to subscribers to member media outlets.
Advertising and sponsorship packages will be sold direct on a national and local level. This setup allows the local media ad network aggregate to directly compete with national platforms.
The Matchup was developed with support from the Google News Initiative.