Sports A media startup that has quietly inked deals with the NBA, MLB and PGA is handing struggling newspapers a lifeline

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Canadian sports media company Sendtonews now lets newspapers plug in instant golf coverage and make it look like their own.

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(Sam Greenwood/Getty)
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Newspapers like the New York Daily News , Los Angeles Times, and Miami Herald can now license a full fledged golf content section for their websites from SendtoNews, which can be made to look and feel like these sections are produced by each individual newspaper. The content package, called SportstoNews, includes video highlights licensed by SendtoNews from the PGA Tour, USGA, LPGA, and other leagues, as well as text articles from GolfWeek and live digital scoreboards from major events.

Essentially, newspapers and other content sites get to feature golf coverage without having to build out web pages or maintain a group of reporters and editors. SendtoNews sells the ads and shares revenue with each distribution partner, of which there are 150 and counting.

“These companies are resource constrained," said Matthew Watson, CEO of SendtoNews, which in January reached 6.5 million unique viewers and generated 120 million views across its network, according to comScore. “As they’ve focused more on local coverage, what's gone missing is a number of sports."

Indeed, the number of journalists employed by newspapers continues to shrink, meaning that many papers need to make tough choices on what to cover and what to skip.

That can lead to shutting down foreign bureaus or avoiding certain topics altogether. For sports desks at newspapers like the Detroit Free Press, that often means leaning into covering local teams like the Tigers and avoiding smaller, more national sports like golf. As newspaper ad spending slides, it’s harder to justify sending someone to Scotland every summer to cover the British Open, for example.

That's where SendtoNews' creative solution comes in. The company has inked deals with nearly all of the major North American sports leagues, including Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL, to syndicate game highlights to 1,400 media outlets.

In the case of SportstoNews, the company can help newspapers beef up otherwise ignored coverage while bringing in new ad revenue. A person visiting the Daily News's sports section might see navigation links for baseball, basketball, football and golf, and while the baseball coverage is from staff reporters, the golf coverage is from SendtoNews.

The New York Daily News has outsourced its golf coverage to SendToNews, unbeknownst to readers play

The New York Daily News has outsourced its golf coverage to SendToNews, unbeknownst to readers

(New York Daily News)

Of course, newspapers and other publishers have long licensed content from services like the Associated Press. The twist in this case is that SendtoNews is letting papers outsource some of their content production while still presenting it to readers as their own.

Plus, the arrangement allows for newspapers to showcase valuable video – an increasingly pressing need for nearly everyone in the media business, albeit one that can be prohibitively expensive for local papers to produce on their own. And the deals let local papers tap into SendtoNews connections with national advertisers.

Watson sees more applications of this model going forward, for sports ranging from soccer to the Olympics.