ABC News and The Atlantic are among several finalists interested in purchasing Nate Silver's statistics and data analysis blog FiveThirtyEight from ESPN, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Silver is considering several potential buyers for his website, which has been owned by ESPN for the past five years. The sports website The Athletic, which has been on a hiring spree, is another potential buyer, according to the report.
One person familiar with the discussions told the Journal that ABC News was the most logical choice for FiveThirtyEight, since ESPN and ABC share the same parent company, Disney.
Silver, according to the report, is looking for a deal that would keep FiveThirtyEight's staff largely intact while finding a good fit for the website's brand of data analysis and prediction models.
ESPN announced last year that it would look at selling the website, which the Journal reports loses $6 million annually.
Those losses, the report continues, were driven in part by ESPN's decision to fold the website into the sports network's existing infrastructure, rather than developing it as a separate company.
“FiveThirtyEight is a tremendous asset to ESPN,” ESPN's vice president of content, Connor Schell, told the Journal. “We’ve long had conversations about whether there are better ways to support FiveThirtyEight’s non-sports content, and those conversations have accelerated both in contract renewal discussions with Nate and with the 2018 midterm elections approaching."
"We are working in concert with Nate and his team to find the best ongoing home for FiveThirtyEight. Data and analytics remain an important part of ESPN’s sports storytelling," Schell added.
FiveThirtyEight, which employs a small staff of about 30 journalists, receives an average of 4 million to 6 million unique visitors a month, according to the report. During the height of the 2016 election, that number was closer to 21 million.