The Players' Tribune
Type of site
|Owner||The Players' Tribune, Inc|
|Alexa rank||6,959/20,310  (US/Global 03/2016)|
|Launched||October 1, 2014|
The Players' Tribune is a new media platform that provides content written by professional athletes. Founded by former professional Major League Baseball player Derek Jeter, The Players' Tribune provides daily sports conversation and publishes first-person stories directly from athletes. 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 a significant[clarification needed] 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.
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."
The platform has been used by athletes to break news, including retirement announcements from Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and David Ortiz and free-agency decisions from Kevin Love and Kevin Durant. 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 and Adam Jones on racism's unfortunate place in baseball in 2017 (stemming from the incident earlier in the season at Fenway Park).
In July 2015, The Players' Tribune launched TPT Assist, a cause-related platform designed to allow athletes to share their philanthropic endeavors.
Athletes' contributions have won praise, though grudging at times, from the sports media. Critics have brought up questions regarding the role of traditional reporters and beat writers in sports today. Jeter has responded, "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: "This is longform social, to tell stories with content in a natural way," said Grande. "It's meant to complement what's out there and provide opinions, POVs and perspective," said Messler. Patrick said, "In this day and age of media, you have to be careful with what you say all the time, and it's cool to have a platform where you know you can speak freely and then be part of the editing afterward to make sure that the article comes out how you want it to and is saying what you want it to, because sometimes you're dealing with sensitive subjects and every word needs to be right."
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.
Sponsors and partnerships
TPT gives brands the chance to extend their campaigns, and it also gives athletes who may not be the top stars in their sport a chance to earn dollars by being part of the campaign on a different platform, Messler said.
Although the site gives the appearance of athletes writing their own blog posts, the vast majority of articles are written by staff at The Players' Tribune. The site crafts stories based on long interviews directly with the athletes. Editing is allegedly minimal, but players get the final approval before publishing. The staff who write the articles do not get credits, giving the false appearance that athletes are the sole writers of their posts.
Journalist Keith Olbermann criticized the site's inclusion of eSports players, saying that they "have jumped the shark by publishing pieces by snotty rando kids playing children's games" in response to an article by Doublelift, a League of Legends player.
|Name||Title||Sport or field||No. of contributions|
|Derek Jeter||Founding Publisher||Baseball||6|
|David Ortiz||Editor at Large||Baseball||5|
|Steve Nash||Senior Producer||Basketball||2|
|Tiger Woods||Contributing Editor||Golf||1|
|Blake Griffin||Senior Editor||Basketball||5|
|Julius Thomas||Contributing Editor||Football||2|
|Jason Collins||Guest Contributor||Basketball||2|
|Kobe Bryant||Black Mamba||Basketball||10|
|Dwight Gooden||Guest Contributor||Baseball||2|
|Kevin Love||Senior Editor||Basketball||2|
|Danica Patrick||Senior Editor||NASCAR||6|
|C. J. McCollum||Guest Contributor||Basketball||3|
|Russell Wilson||Senior Editor||Football||4|
|John Urschel||Advanced Stats Columnist||Football||2|
|Paul Pierce||Contributing Editor||Basketball||6|
|Brendan Shanahan||Guest Contributor||Hockey||1|
|Carmelo Anthony||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Spencer Dinwiddie||Tribune Facial Hair Consultant||Basketball||1|
|Michael Carter-Williams||Guest Contributor||Basketball||2|
|Tyler Seguin||Guest Contributor||Hockey||1|
|Andrew McCutchen||Senior Editor||Baseball||1|
|Walter Iooss||Photographer at Large||Photography||1|
|Matt Harvey||New York City Bureau Chief||Baseball||1|
|John Frates||Guest Contributor||1|
|Nancy Frates||Guest Contributor||1|
|Heath Bell||Guest Contributor||Baseball||1|
|Tyson Chandler||Contributor Editor||Basketball||1|
|Jed Jacobsohn||Senior Staff Photographer||Photography||1|
|Delanie Walker||Guest Contributor||Football||1|
|D. J. Fluker||Contributor||Football||1|
|Roger Craig||Guest Contributor||Football||1|
|John Urschel||Advanced Stats Columnist||Football, Mathematics||13|
|Billie Jean King||Contributor||Tennis||2|
|Seun Adebiyi||Guest Contributor||Swimming||1|
|Larry Sanders||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Joe Theismann||Guest Contributor||Football||1|
|Adam Ottavino||Contributing Photographer||Photography||1|
|Derrick Mason||Guest Contributor||Football||1|
|John Axford||Guest Contributor||Baseball||1|
|Igor Larionov||Guest Contributor||Hockey||1|
|Rob Tringali||Contributing Photographer||Photography||1|
|Brad Mangin||Contributing Photographer||Photography||1|
|Ben Lyons||Chief Correspondent||1|
|Nneka Ogwumike||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Chiney Ogwumike||Chief Correspondent||Basketball||1|
|Danny Manning||Guest Contributor||1|
|Hakim Warrick||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Elena Delle Donne||Guest Contributor||1|
|David E. Klutho||Contributing Photographer||Photography||1|
|Pascal Dupuis||Guest Contributor||Hockey||2|
|Simon Bruty||Contributing Photographer||Photography||1|
|Darren Carroll||Contributing Photographer||Photography||1|
|Nigel Sylvester||Contributor||Freestyle BMX||1|
|James Hahn||Guest Contributor||Golf||1|
|Darius Morris||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Ali Farokhmanesh||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Bryce Drew||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Sue Bird||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Mike Conley, Jr.||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Bo Kimble||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Tina Charles||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Draymond Green||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Jalen Rose||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Steve Novak||Contributing Editor||Basketball||1|
|Brittney Griner||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Solomon Hill||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Harrison Barnes||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Nevil Shed||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Jameer Nelson||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Aaron Craft||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Kenny Lofton||Guest Contributor||Baseball||1|
|Baron Davis||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Mateen Cleaves||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Khalid El-Amin||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Alonzo Mourning||Guest Contributor||Basketball||1|
|Martin St. Louis||Contributor||Hockey||1|
|Fernando Alonso||Contributor||Formula One||1|
|Caroline Wozniacki||Senior Editor||Tennis||4|
- "Dull Derek Jeter's New Site Could Actually Be Cool". Time. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- "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 (2017-06-21). "Players' Tribune, the sports site launched by Derek Jeter, has hired its first CEO". Recode. Retrieved 2017-06-22.
- "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 2016-01-25.
- DiMoro, Anthony. "Kobe Bryant And Derek Jeter Join Forces At The Players' Tribune". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
- "Kobe Bryant And Derek Jeter Join Forces At The Players' Tribune". Forbes. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- "The Players' Tribune | CrunchBase". www.crunchbase.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
- 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.
- Hayward, Gordon (2017-07-04). "Thank You, Utah". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
- Harvey, Matt. "Playoffs". The Players Tribune. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- "The Players' Tribune Expands With Launch Of TPT Assist, A New Platform Featuring Cause-Related Content". My Social Good News. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
- "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 2016-01-25.
- "Blake Griffin, Danica Patrick and Other Athletes on Why They Believe in Jeter's The Players' Tribune". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
- "Derek Jeter's The Players' Tribune Has a Message for Brands: Game On". Advertising Age. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
- Olbermann, Keith [@KeithOlbermann] (January 9, 2018). "Three years in. That's awfully early to have jumped the shark by publishing pieces by snotty rando kids playing children's games, @PlayersTribune" (Tweet). Retrieved January 11, 2018 – via Twitter.