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Minute Media acquires The Players’ Tribune

Athlete-driven digital media platform The Players’ Tribune has been acquired by Minute Media, confirming a widely expected transition for the Derek Jeter-led entity.

In the deal, The Players’ Tribune will become part of a digital media conglomerate that also includes soccer specific-site 90min.com, general sports destinations 12UP.com and The Big Lead, and esports content property Dbltap, among others. With this breadth of assets, Minute Media typically ranks among the top 10 most heavily trafficked US sports digital properties.

Financial terms were not disclosed. But The Players’ Tribune will continue to operate independently under its existing brand. And Jeter, the former New York Yankees star shortstop now chief executive of fellow Major League Baseball club the Miami Marlins, remains in place as co-founder and will continue to advise on company operations. He said the Minute Media alignment gives the site “the ability to reach a wider audience on a global scale,” while The Players’ Tribune chief executive Jeff Levick similarly said the deal was designed to “accelerate growth in a crowded media landscape.”

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

“Together, we want to continue to reimagine the world of sports and entertainment through the players’ points of view, in as many places as possible, in as many languages as possible, and exploring as many topics as possible,” Jeter said in a lengthy blog post announcing the deal. “We want to keep surprising you.”

The Players’ Tribune has raised $58m in funding since its 2014 founding, most recently a $40m Series C round in January 2017. But aside from a few notable entires, including notably the Dear Basketball poem written by former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant upon his retirement, the site has struggled to draw consistent web traffic. Co-founder Jaymee Messler left the company earlier this year while eight staff members were laid off in January. 

“Adding the brand’s athlete community, authentic storytelling and premium content offering to our portfolio is an incredible asset,” said Asaf Peled, founder and chief executive of Minute Media. “Our goal at Minute Media is to strengthen this established brand position and accelerate the vision of becoming the world’s leading global athlete-driven platform.

“While we continue to seek out premium content brands across sports and lifestyle, we’ve identified those with potential to scale globally and those that have developed significant loyalty and trust in their audience, of which the Player’s Tribune is a premier example,” Peled said.