Clutch catches you up on sports in 3 minutes or less

Andreas Rekdal

Designed to be consumed during a quick commute or over your morning coffee, daily newsletters are on the rise.

Since its founding in 2012, theSkimm has garnered millions of subscribers and inspired traditional news outlets like The New York Times to put their own spin on the format.

Clutch, a new media startup founded by Booth MBA candidate Wenting Xi, brings the skimmable newsletter format to sports. But its target audience isn't diehard sports fans.

“I always wanted to know sports because all the guys around me at work are always talking about it. But whenever I went to ESPN to find out what happened, I realized I was missing a lot of context,” said Xi. “Sites like ESPN’s are written for people who know the players and the teams, and when they use statistics they expect you to know what those statistics mean.”

What Xi wanted was sports content written for people who just want enough information to make casual conversation. When she couldn't find it, she and co-founder Sammy Lee decided to start a company to provide it.

Inspired by theSkimm's format, Clutch is delivered daily, with the exception of days with no major sports news. In addition to explaining what the biggest headlines are, the newsletter provides explanations on what terms in the stories mean and why the stories made the headlines.

Xi said her initial idea was inspired by the ‘lean in’-movement, but that she soon realized that the target audience was broader than she thought.

“I called it Miss Clutch for a few months because I knew it was a problem for me, my girlfriends and other women at work,” said Xi. “One interesting thing I discovered was how many guys like it, because it’s a much bigger pain point for guys to not be able to talk about sports with other guys.”

At Booth, the founder said she has also found an audience with international students who didn’t grow up with football, basketball and baseball.

In addition to daily updates about the biggest national sports news, Clutch offers weekly updates about local sports teams in Chicago and San Francisco. Over time, Xi plans to expand coverage to other markets as well.

Xi said launching a sports startup has definitely turned her into more of a sports fan than she used to be. But she’s not concerned about her readers “graduating” from Clutch to other sports publications.

“Part of the value proposition is that it’s short, simple and it only takes two minutes a day to get caught up on all the information that you need,” Xi said. “A lot of people just don’t have time to read ESPN every day.”

Image via Clutch.

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