The Athletic is acquiring the NBA-focused Count the Dings podcasts, The Big Lead has learned. The Daily Ding and Back to Back pods will both air behind The Athletic’s paywall, and are expected to debut there in April.
Rob Lopez, Wos Lambre, Dave DuFour, Travonne Edwards, and producer Jade Hoye will be making the move over to The Athletic. Zach Harper, who is already a writer there, will remain on the podcast. At least at this time, ESPN personality Amin Elhassan will not be on the shows. However, the plan is for The Athletic’s NBA reporters/columnists like Shams Charania, Sam Amick, and Frank Isola to make appearances.
What was the impetus for moving the podcasts to The Athletic?
“Freedom,” Hoye, the producer, says. “I spent the last 1 1/2 years exploring the world of independent media, after 11 years at ESPN, and the one thing I came to love and truly appreciate about it was simply the ability to have conversations that were free from the filters of corporate management. When The Athletic launched and as it has grown, I’ve been impressed in the way they allow their talent to write from the heart. No click bait and no social media algorithms driving content. As a multimedia producer this was an easy choice. These are the people I want to work with.”
Prior to the acquisition, the podcast’s fans have contributed money to the show on Patreon, where there are three tiers of patrons by which a total of 1,390 people are paying them monthly. A spokesperson for The Athletic tells The Big Lead that current patrons who are not already Athletic subscribers will receive a voucher for a free year subscription to The Athletic, and patrons who are already subscribers will have a free year tacked on to what they’ve already paid for.
Similarly to what happens when writers join the site, there will also be an introductory discount code for listeners who are neither patrons nor subscribers, at 40 percent off (this puts it around $35 for a year subscription).
While many of the writers for The Athletic have podcasts, a lot if not all of them are available outside the paywall on Soundcloud and/or iTunes and/or other outlets. The Count the Dings pods will only be able to be listened to on The Athletic app on phones and on the site on desktop.