The Players' Tribune

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The Players' Tribune
The Players' Tribune logo.svg
Type of site
Sports journalism
Available inEnglish
OwnerThe Players' Tribune, Inc
Created byDerek Jeter
LaunchedOctober 1, 2014; 7 years ago (2014-10-01)
Current statusActive

The Players' Tribune is a new media platform that produces daily sports conversation and publishes first-person stories from professional athletes. The platform was founded by former professional Major League Baseball player Derek Jeter in 2014. Content ranges from videos to podcasts to player polls and written pieces.[1]


The Players' Tribune launched in October 2014 by Derek Jeter and Jaymee Messler, the chief marketing officer of Excel Sports Management, Jeter's agency, as a means for athletes to offer more direct insight into their lives.[2][3] The outlet began collecting venture capital funds in 2015 and entered a "next phase" which included expanding content from the written word to include podcasts, video, and a presence on SiriusXM satellite radio.[3] The same year, The Players' Tribune launched TPT Assist, a cause-related platform designed to allow athletes to share their philanthropic endeavors.[4]

Messler served as the president of The Players' Tribune until leaving in January 2019.[5] In June 2017, Jeff Levick, former Spotify Chief Revenue Officer, was named the first CEO of the company.[6] Legendary Entertainment supplied funding as well as creative support.[7][8] On June 15, 2015, it was announced that New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm, had invested $9.5M in The Players' Tribune.[9] Among the attractions for the firm was the athlete ownership of the site and athlete involvement.[10] As of October 27, 2015, after the Series B first close of $9.5 million, another $5.5 million in equities was made available to additional investors. Kobe Bryant, who had been involved with TPT since December 2014, made the largest investment in the platform and led all athletes in the round.[11] Athletes represented by GenTrust, an investment management company, were among the athletes who invested.[12]

As of January 19, 2017, The Player's Tribune had raised an additional $40 million in funding, bringing the total amount raised to $58 million.[13] In 2018, The Player's Tribune purchased Unscriptd, a tech start-up which produces short-form video content. The startup began a round of layoffs shortly after.[14]

In November 2019, it was announced that The Player's Tribune would be acquired by Minute Media, a digital entertainment media company which owns Mental Floss, The Big Lead, FanSided, and other digital media properties.[15] In 2021, The Players' Tribune expanded into Brazil and Japan, partnering with NBA player Yuta Watanabe, Formula 1 driver Yuki Tsunoda, and soccer player Mana Iwabuchi in the Japanese expansion.[16][17][18]

Content and platform[edit]

The platform's content includes first-person written stories, videos, podcasts, and photo galleries. Topics covered by the platform include mental health, athlete retirements, social justice issues, and more.[19][3]

The content is produced in partnership between the athlete and the outlet's editorial team, with close oversight by the athlete. The vast majority of articles are written by staff at The Players' Tribune, who craft stories based on interviews conducted with the athletes. All content is approved by the athletes before it is posted, with some exercising greater control over the finished product than others.[19][20] The site's former editorial director, Gary Hoenig, noted the stories are largely crafted from "monologues, with questions to nudge the conversation along," rather than a traditional interview.[19]

The platform has been used by athletes to break news, including retirement announcements from Kobe Bryant,[21] Steve Nash,[22] and David Ortiz;[23] free-agency decisions from Kevin Love and Kevin Durant;[24] and Sabrina Ionescu's decision to remain at the University of Oregon for her senior season, passing on the 2019 WNBA draft.[25][a] Gordon Hayward confirmed via the site he was leaving the Utah Jazz for the Boston Celtics,[27] and Matt Harvey used the platform to announce that he would pitch in the playoffs.[28] Other editorial content includes Larry Sanders sharing why he walked away from the NBA; Patrick O'Sullivan on growing up with an abusive father; Daniel Carcillo's tribute to his late friend and Chicago Blackhawks teammate Steve Montador; José Bautista's response to his critics on his bat flip; Mardy Fish's discussion of his anxiety issues; Blake Griffin on Donald Sterling and racism; Andrew McCutchen on baseball and poverty; New York Liberty players Swin Cash, Essence Carson, and Tanisha Wright on race and gender in women's sports; Adam Jones on racism's unfortunate place in baseball in 2017 (stemming from the incident earlier in the season at Fenway Park); and Breanna Stewart publicly revealing that she had been a victim of child sexual abuse (with the story being a small part of the Me Too movement).[29]

In addition to written pieces, the outlet also produces podcasts and videos, notably the Knuckleheads podcast, hosted by former NBA players Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles;[30] Truss Levelz, hosted by NFL players Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram;[31] and Blindsided, hosted by former NHL player Corey Hirsch and Dr. Diane McIntosh.[32]

Sponsors and partnerships[edit]

Several sponsors have signed a deal with The Players' Tribune. Porsche debuted as their first sponsor, as well as Powerade, Dove, Toyota, Red Bull, and Built with Chocolate Milk.[33] TPT has also collaborated with the Amazon Prime Video television series Jack Ryan.[34]

Reception and criticism[edit]

Athletes' contributions have won praise from the sports media.[10] The Players' Tribune has been criticized for using the practice of ghostwriting in some of its articles. "Like nearly every post on the site, the Ortiz essay was not written directly by its bylined athlete but instead crafted from a recorded interview with a Tribune staff producer," wrote Richard Sandomir, in an article for the New York Times.[35]

Critics have brought up questions regarding the role of traditional reporters and beat writers in sports today. Jeter responded saying "We're not trying to take away from sportswriters. Sportswriters are what makes sports successful."[36] He added, "We're not covering day-to-day sports scores. We don't have sports highlights. This is completely different. . . . . I think we can coexist."[37]

Some media outlets question the ability of The Players' Tribune to stand out in the news cycle, especially with other social media platforms, such as Twitter.[7] Staff have countered with defenses of the platform's purpose.[38] Grande responded by saying that "This is longform social, to tell stories with content in a natural way."[39]

Journalist Keith Olbermann criticized the site's inclusion of eSports players, saying that they "have jumped the shark by publishing pieces by snotty random kids playing children's games" in response to an article by Doublelift, a League of Legends player.[40]


Staff members
Name Title Sport or field
Derek Jeter Founding Publisher Baseball
David Ortiz Editor at Large Baseball
Steve Nash Senior Producer Basketball
Tiger Woods Contributing Editor Golf
Blake Griffin Senior Editor Basketball
Julius Thomas Contributing Editor Football
Kevin Love Senior Editor Basketball
Danica Patrick Senior Editor NASCAR
Russell Wilson Senior Editor Football
Andrew McCutchen Senior Editor Baseball
Walter Iooss Photographer at Large Photography
Matt Harvey New York City Bureau Chief Baseball
Jed Jacobsohn Senior Staff Photographer Photography
John Urschel Advanced Stats Columnist Football, Mathematics
Ben Lyons Chief Correspondent
Chiney Ogwumike Chief Correspondent Basketball
Caroline Wozniacki Senior Editor Tennis

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ionescu had been eligible to declare for the 2019 WNBA draft because she reached the WNBA's minimum draft age of 22 for U.S.-born players in December of that year.[26]


  1. ^ "Dull Derek Jeter's New Site Could Actually Be Cool". Time. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  2. ^ Hsu, Hua (March 29, 2021). "The Rise of the Athlete Podcaster". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Guthrie, Marisa; Feinberg, Scott (July 29, 2015). "Derek Jeter Wants Another Big Hit". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  4. ^ "The Players' Tribune Expands With Launch Of TPT Assist, A New Platform Featuring Cause-Related Content". My Social Good News. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  5. ^ "Players' Tribune Co-Founder Jaymee Messler, 'John Wick' Producer Basil Iwanyk Launch (Co)Laboratory, Venture Connecting Athletes & Teams with Hollywood". July 25, 2019.
  6. ^ Kafka, Peter (June 21, 2017). "Players' Tribune, the sports site launched by Derek Jeter, has hired its first CEO". Recode. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Jeter's Players Tribune tries to find its digital footing". Buffalo News. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  8. ^ "Derek Jeter Teams With Legendary to Launch The Players' Tribune". The Hollywood Reporter. October 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  9. ^ "Derek Jeter's Players Tribune Raises $9.5 Million Led By NEA". Jonathan Shieber. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Jeter's vision overcomes skeptics". Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  11. ^ DiMoro, Anthony. "Kobe Bryant And Derek Jeter Join Forces At The Players' Tribune". Forbes. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  12. ^ "Kobe Bryant And Derek Jeter Join Forces At The Players' Tribune". Forbes. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  13. ^ Lev-Ram, Michael (January 19, 2017). "Exclusive: Derek Jeter's Star-Studded Startup Just Raised Another $40 Million". Fortune. Retrieved August 15, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ Baker, Liana; Soshnick, Scott; Novy-Williams, Eben (October 25, 2019). "Derek Jeter's website Players' Tribune is exploring a sale". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 15, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Spangler, Todd (November 21, 2019). "Derek Jeter's Players' Tribune Acquired by Minute Media as Digital Media Consolidation Continues". Variety. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  16. ^ Stenberg, Mark (March 25, 2021). "The Players' Tribune Expands to Japan, Eyeing Its Untapped Sports Market". Adweek. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  17. ^ Birnbaum, Justin (March 25, 2021). "Sister Jean, Michael Rubin And NFL TV Deals: This Week's Most Interesting Sports Business Stories". Forbes. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  18. ^ "'The Players' Tribune e o valor das histórias', com Eduardo Paulsen (Minute Media)". MKT Esportivo (in Brazilian Portuguese). May 18, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  19. ^ a b c Sandomir, Richard (March 28, 2015). "Athletes Finding Their Voice in Derek Jeter's Digital Venture". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  20. ^ Barshad, Amos (February 21, 2018). "What Happens When Athletes Do the Sportswriting?". The New York Times. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  21. ^ Bryant, Kobe (November 29, 2015). "Dear Basketball". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  22. ^ Nash, Steve (March 22, 2015). "Steve Nash: Retirement". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  23. ^ Ortiz, David (November 18, 2015). "David Ortiz Retirement Announcement". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  24. ^ Love, Kevin (July 2, 2015). "Unfinished Business". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  25. ^ Ionescu, Sabrina (April 6, 2019). "A Letter to Ducks Nation". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  26. ^ Voepel, Mechelle (April 6, 2019). "Projected No. 1 pick Ionescu returning to Ducks". Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  27. ^ Hayward, Gordon (July 4, 2017). "Thank You, Utah". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  28. ^ Harvey, Matt (September 7, 2015). "Playoffs". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  29. ^ Stewart, Breanna (October 30, 2017). "Me Too". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  30. ^ Greif, Andrew (December 2, 2020). "These former Clippers might be 'Knuckleheads,' but people listen". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  31. ^ Johnson, Luke (September 23, 2020). "Cam Jordan and former Saints teammate Mark Ingram debut 'Truss Levelz' podcast". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  32. ^ Larkin, Matt (December 15, 2021). "New Players' Tribune Podcast Opens the Book On Athletes' Mental Health". The Hockey News. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  33. ^ "Derek Jeter's The Players' Tribune Has a Message for Brands: Game On". Advertising Age. October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  34. ^ Bennett, Bennett (July 17, 2018). "Spy games: The Players Tribune, Amazon Prime Video team up for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan promo". The Drum. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  35. ^ Sandomir, Richard (March 28, 2015). "Blake Griffin, Danica Patrick and Other Athletes on Why They Believe in Jeter's The Players' Tribune". The New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  36. ^ "Derek Jeter gets back to work". ESPN. October 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  37. ^ "Derek Jeter Wants Another Big Hit". The Hollywood Reporter. July 29, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  38. ^ "Blake Griffin, Danica Patrick and Other Athletes on Why They Believe in Jeter's The Players' Tribune". The Hollywood Reporter. July 29, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  39. ^ "Should PR Pay Attention to Derek Jeter's 'The Players' Tribune?'". Adweek. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  40. ^ Olbermann, Keith [@KeithOlbermann] (January 9, 2018). "Three years in. That's awfully early to have jumped the shark by publishing pieces by snotty random kids playing children's games, @PlayersTribune" (Tweet). Retrieved January 11, 2018 – via Twitter.

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