(Reuters) – The New York Times Co said on Thursday it has agreed to buy subscription-based sports site the Athletic for $550 million in cash, as the 170-year-old newspaper looks to bolster its digital offerings.

Founded in 2016, the Athletic had 1.2 million subscribers as of December, and covers more than 200 clubs and teams in the United States and around the world.

“Acquiring The Athletic puts us in a position to be a global leader in sports journalism,” said NYT Chief Executive Officer Meredith Kopit Levien.

The deal is expected to immediately add to the newspaper’s revenue growth.

The Athletic will operate as a separate unit of the company and its founders, Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann, will stay on with the New York Times after the acquisition.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Devika Syamnath)