The Players' Tribune
Type of site
|Owner||The Players' Tribune, Inc|
|Created by||Derek Jeter|
|Launched||October 1, 2014|
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.
The Players' Tribune was launched on October 1, 2014, by Derek Jeter. Its first contributors were senior editors Russell Wilson, Blake Griffin, Danica Patrick and Kevin Love. On February 13, 2015, The Players' Tribune announced it was entering a "next phase," which, according to Jeter, involved the addition of "podcasts, digital video, Sirius satellite radio, plus much more of the kinds of stories we’ve already been telling." As of January 2015, Jaymee Messler, former CMO of Excel Sports Management, is the president of The Players' Tribune. Gary Hoenig, former editorial director of ESPN Publishing and a founding editor of ESPN The Magazine, now serves as editorial director. Maureen Cavanagh, former photography director for Sports Illustrated, is the creative director and Alex Rose is the General Manager. In June 2017, Jeff Levick, former Spotify Chief Revenue Officer, was named the first CEO of the company. Legendary Entertainment supplied funding as well as creative support. On June 15, 2015, it was announced that New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm, had invested $9.5M in The Players' Tribune. Among the attractions for the firm was the athlete ownership of the site and athlete involvement. 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. Athletes represented by GenTrust, an investment management company, were among the athletes who invested. As of January 25, 2016, the Players’ Tribune had raised $18M in funding.
As of January 19, 2017 the Player's Tribune had raised an additional $40M in funding, bringing the total amount raised to $58M. 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.
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.
Content and platform
The platform's content includes first-person written features, videos, podcasts, photo galleries, and polls. Topics include sports commentary and lifestyle and popular culture. The mission, according to Jeter, is to allow athletes to connect directly with fans.
Hoenig describes the platform's process as athlete-author driven: "The athletes will focus on issues and topics and will produce their own content. The Players' Tribune editors will edit their drafts but the athletes will have the final say regarding what we publish." Although the site gives the appearance of athletes writing their own blog posts, this is not the case. The vast majority of articles are written by staff at The Players' Tribune, who craft stories based on long interviews directly with the athletes. Editing is allegedly minimal, but players get the final approval before an article is published, so there is little contentious content. The staff who write the articles do not get credits, giving the false appearance that athletes are the sole writers of their posts.
The platform has been used by athletes to break news, including retirement announcements from Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and David Ortiz; free-agency decisions from Kevin Love and Kevin Durant; and Sabrina Ionescu's decision to remain at the University of Oregon for her senior season, passing on the 2019 WNBA draft.[a] Gordon Hayward confirmed via the site he was leaving the Utah Jazz for the Boston Celtics, and Matt Harvey used the platform to announce that he would pitch in the playoffs. 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).
In July 2015, The Players' Tribune launched TPT Assist, a cause-related platform designed to allow athletes to share their philanthropic endeavors.
Sponsors and partnerships
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. TPT has also collaborated with the Amazon Prime Video television series Jack Ryan.
Reception and criticism
Athletes' contributions have won praise from the sports media. 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.
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." 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."
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. Staff have countered with defenses of the platform's purpose. Grande responded by saying that "This is longform social, to tell stories with content in a natural way."
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.
|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|
|John Urschel||Advanced Stats Columnist||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|
- 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.
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- "Let's Talk About It". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
- "The Boss". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
- "Relationship Status: Normal-ish". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
- "How I Spent My Summer Vacation". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
- "Should PR Pay Attention to Derek Jeter's 'The Players' Tribune?'". Adweek. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- "For Derek Jeter, Retirement is a Job". New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "Jeter announces formation of The Players' Tribune". USA Today. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
- Kafka, Peter (June 21, 2017). "Players' Tribune, the sports site launched by Derek Jeter, has hired its first CEO". Recode. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
- "Jeter's Players Tribune tries to find its digital footing". Buffalo News. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
- "Derek Jeter Teams With Legendary to Launch The Players' Tribune". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "Derek Jeter's Players Tribune Raises $9.5 Million Led By NEA". Jonathan Shieber. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
- "Jeter's vision overcomes skeptics". www.sportsbusinessdaily.com. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
- DiMoro, Anthony. "Kobe Bryant And Derek Jeter Join Forces At The Players' Tribune". Forbes. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
- "Kobe Bryant And Derek Jeter Join Forces At The Players' Tribune". Forbes. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- "The Players' Tribune | CrunchBase". www.crunchbase.com. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
- Lev-Ram, Michael (January 19, 2017). "Exclusive: Derek Jeter's Star-Studded Startup Just Raised Another $40 Million". Fortune. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- 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.
- Spangler, Todd. "Derek Jeter's Players' Tribune Acquired by Minute Media as Digital Media Consolidation Continues". variety.com. Variety. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
- Bryant, Kobe. "Dear Basketball". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- Nash, Steve. "Steve Nash: Retirement". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- Ortiz, David. "David Ortiz Retirement Announcement". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- Love, Kevin. "Unfinished Business". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- Ionescu, Sabrina (April 6, 2019). "A Letter to Ducks Nation". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
- Voepel, Mechelle (April 6, 2019). "Projected No. 1 pick Ionescu returning to Ducks". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
- Hayward, Gordon (July 4, 2017). "Thank You, Utah". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
- Harvey, Matt. "Playoffs". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- Stewart, Breanna (October 30, 2017). "Me Too". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "The Players' Tribune Expands With Launch Of TPT Assist, A New Platform Featuring Cause-Related Content". My Social Good News. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
- "Derek Jeter's The Players' Tribune Has a Message for Brands: Game On". Advertising Age. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
- 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.
- "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.
- "Derek Jeter gets back to work". ESPN. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- "Derek Jeter Wants Another Big Hit". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- "Blake Griffin, Danica Patrick and Other Athletes on Why They Believe in Jeter's The Players' Tribune". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
- 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.