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 presents a medium for the direct reflections, thoughts and experiences of 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". Jeter stated: "We began an experiment in providing a trusted platform for athletes to tell their stories their way." Furthermore, "We've started a community of athletes that is pretty special. We’ve demonstrated what athletes can do when given the chance to express themselves, and now it’s time to take it up a notch. More content, more distribution channels, more fresh ways of telling our stories our way. 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, and is responsible for shaping the team of editors who will help the athletes share their voices on a regular basis. Maureen Cavanagh, former photography director for Sports Illustrated, is the creative director, Alex Rose, a sports content strategist, is the company's general manager, and Mark Grande is the Vice President of Partnerships. Legendary Entertainment supplied funding as well as creative support. To date, The Players’ Tribune has raised $18M in funding. On June 15, 2015, it was announced that New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm, had invested $9.5M in The Players' Tribune. 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 which included a number of athletes and influencers within the sports community. Kobe Bryant, who had been involved with TPT since December 2014, made a significant investment in the platform and led all athletes in the round. Athletes represented by GenTrust, an investment management company that provides an array of investment solutions to institutional and high-net-worth clients, were among the athletes who invested.
Content and platform
The platform gives athletes the tools to develop and create quality content ranging from first-person written features to videos, podcasts, photo galleries, polls and more, and covers topics from sports commentary to lifestyle and popular culture. "It's a trusted place, a place where they can speak freely and not have to worry about how their words are twisted and turned", said Jeter. The mission, as stated by Jeter on the site, is to transform how athletes and newsmakers share information and bring fans closer to the game.
Content is a driving force: "Overall, we don't want to say anything unless it's original and unique, and we're looking for content that's emotionally resonant and funny. There's nothing quite like the spontaneity you get from sports, and it's hard to get that experience elsewhere nowadays," Hoenig said. The main approach will be that "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," Hoenig added.
The site has established itself as an authentic voice among the athletes who write for it and the fans who read it. One of the unique elements of The Tribune is athlete ownership of the site, in addition to athlete involvement.
TPT is also used to break news with announcements and stories: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and David Ortiz all chose TPT to announce their retirements; Kevin Love and Kevin Durant took to TPT to announce their free-agency decisions, and Matt Harvey used the platform to tell Mets fans that he would pitch in the playoffs. Other notable 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; Jose 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; and New York Liberty players Swin Cash, Essence Carson, and Tanisha Wright on race and gender in women’s sports.
In July 2015, The Players' Tribune launched TPT Assist, a cause-related platform that allows athletes to share, first-hand, their impactful philanthropic endeavors through written features, videos, event activations, original photography, and social media.
Athletes have contributed a number of pieces on social and health issues that 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. "We're not trying to take away from sportswriters. Sportswriters are what makes sports successful", Derek Jeter said. "I think we're sort of working in conjunction with them." He added, "I've never said that we're trying to eliminate the media. ... We're not covering day-to-day sports scores. We don't have sports highlights. This is completely different. We're starting the conversation. 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. "We're giving the athletes that fans know and love a voice. This is longform social, to tell stories with content in a natural way," added Grande. "It will be a platform where athletes control their own voice. It's meant to complement what's out there and provide opinions, POVs and perspective," said Messler. Danica Patrick weighed in: "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 heavily criticized for using ghostwriting in 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. The staff producers who talk to them do not get bylines", wrote Richard Sandomir, in an article for the New York Times.
While it is a common practice for celebrities to partner with ghostwriters, nearly all instances outside of The Players' Tribune are attributed to the final author. Many media watchers feel this is disingenuous at best, and perhaps destructive to the brand value of the athlete at worst.
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.
|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||Car Racing||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|
|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|
|Denny Hamlin||Contributor||Car Racing||1|
- "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.
- "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.
- "The Players' Tribune | CrunchBase". www.crunchbase.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
- "Derek Jeter's Players Tribune Raises $9.5 Million Led By NEA". Jonathan Shieber. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
- 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.
- Marisa Guthrie. "Derek Jeter Wants Another Big Hit". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- "Jeter's vision overcomes skeptics". www.sportsbusinessdaily.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.
- 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.
- "Players' Tribune articles aren't written by the players, which creates a host of issues". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
- "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.