The Players' Tribune

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 written pieces.[1]

The Players' Tribune
Type of site
Sports journalism
Available inEnglish
OwnerMinute Media
Created byDerek Jeter
LaunchedOctober 1, 2014 (2014-10-01)
Current statusActive


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

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.[15][16]


The New York Post reported that the site, which as of 2019 had raised $58 million, was “hemorrhaging money," and had spent "some $80 million" since its launch in 2014.[17] In November 2019, it was announced that The Players' Tribune would be acquired by Minute Media, a digital entertainment media company that owns Mental Floss, The Big Lead, FanSided, and other digital media properties.[18] Derek Jeter will continue to be involved in the business as a member of the Minute Media’s board of directors.[19]

Content and platform

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.[20][3] As of 2018, more than 1,800 athletes, coaches and sports personalities had contributed to the site.[21]

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.[20][22] 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.[20]

The platform has been used by athletes to break news, including retirement announcements from Kobe Bryant,[23] Steve Nash,[24] and David Ortiz;[25] free-agency decisions from Kevin Love and Kevin Durant, the latter of which gave the Players’ Tribune its biggest day of traffic to date, more than three million unique visitors;[26][27] and Sabrina Ionescu's decision to remain at the University of Oregon for her senior season, passing on the 2019 WNBA draft.[28][lower-alpha 1] Gordon Hayward confirmed via the site he was leaving the Utah Jazz for the Boston Celtics,[30] and Matt Harvey used the platform to announce that he would pitch in the playoffs.[31] Other editorial content includes Larry Sanders sharing why he walked away from the NBA; Kyle Korver on white privilege;[32] Kevin Love on mental health;[33] 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; Bronson Koenig on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock; 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).[34]

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;[35] Truss Levelz, hosted by NFL players Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram;[36] and Blindsided, hosted by former NHL player Corey Hirsch and Dr. Diane McIntosh.[37]

As of 2018, the site averages 3.4 million unique views a month in the United States, according to ComScore.[38] Visitors to the site spend more than seven minutes per story.[38]

Sponsors and partnerships

Former CEO Jeff Levick described The Players’ Tribune revenue model as largely based around selling branded content.[38] 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.[39] The site has also collaborated with the Amazon Prime Video television series Jack Ryan.[40]

Netflix series, "Untold"

The Players' Tribune co-produced “Untold,” a five-part Netflix docuseries that premiered with its first episode about the "Malice at the Palace" on August 10, 2021.[41] "Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist" chronicled the catfishing story involving Manti Te'o.[42] Other episodes include the story of tennis player Mardy Fish's mental health struggles and an account of disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy.[43] Chapman Way and Maclain Way are credited as directors and co-executive producers of the series.[41]

Reception and criticism

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.[44] Richard Deitsch, a journalist who focuses on the intersection of sports and media for Sports Illustrated, described The Players’ Tribune as a “hybrid of journalism, storytelling and PR, but a really high-end combination of those three elements.”[45]

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."[46] 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 co-exist."[47]

Some media outlets question the ability of The Players' Tribune to stand out in the news cycle, especially against Twitter and other social media platforms[7] Athletes and staff have countered with defenses of the platform's purpose,[48] with one employee noting, "This is longform social, to tell stories with content in a natural way."[49] Responding to the notion that the site might be used to polish athlete reputations, Executive Editor Sean Conboy said, “Our most successful stories are the ones that have nothing to do with just trying to burnish the reputation of an athlete. They have something to do with them really revealing themselves and saying things they've maybe never said before.”[38]

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.[50]


The Executive Editor of The Players' Tribune is Sean Conboy.[52]

Staff members
Name Title Sport or field
Derek Jeter Founding PublisherBaseball
David Ortiz Editor at LargeBaseball
Steve Nash Senior ProducerBasketball
Tiger Woods Contributing EditorGolf
Blake Griffin Senior EditorBasketball
Julius Thomas Contributing EditorFootball
Kevin Love Senior EditorBasketball
Danica Patrick Senior EditorNASCAR
Russell Wilson Senior EditorFootball
Andrew McCutchen Senior EditorBaseball
Walter Iooss Photographer at LargePhotography
Matt Harvey New York City Bureau ChiefBaseball
Jed Jacobsohn Senior Staff PhotographerPhotography
John Urschel Advanced Stats ColumnistFootball, Mathematics
Chiney Ogwumike Chief CorrespondentBasketball
Caroline Wozniacki Senior EditorTennis

See also


  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.[29]


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