The Players’ Tribune, the media company founded by Derek Jeter dedicated to serving up first-person content from athletes, has been acquired by Minute Media — the latest roll-up play in a wave of consolidation in digital media.
Terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
Founded in 2014, New York-based Players’ Tribune had raised $58 million. Investors included IVP, Alphabet’s GV (formerly known as Google Ventures), Thomas Tull (former CEO of Legendary Entertainment), New Enterprise Associates, GenTrust and dozens of individual athletes.
Jeter launched the Players’ Tribune in partnership with Tull, with the former New York Yankees star shortstop angling to provide a home for athletes to share “unfiltered, honest and unique perspectives” to fans.
The Players’ Tribune joins Minute Media’s owned-and-operated destinations 90min, 12up, DBLTAP, Mental Floss and The Big Lead. Minute Media said it will provide enhanced technology, infrastructure and global reach to fuel the growth of Players’ Tribune.
“When we led this category of athlete-driven stories five years ago, we couldn’t imagine The Players’ Tribune would transform the landscape the way it did,” Jeter said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to continuing to give athletes a voice — around the world.”
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Jeter will continue to be directly involved in the Players’ Tribune business as the founder and he’s joining Minute Media’s board of directors.
The Players’ Tribune-Minute Media pact comes after an uptick in similar combinations. In the last two months, deals in the sector have included Vice buying Refinery29; Vox Media buying New York Media; and Group Nine Media buying PopSugar.
Minute Media said the acquisition enhances its sports lineup, by combining premium player access from the Players’ Tribune, sports-media insights with The Big Lead, fantasy and sports betting through its partnership with FanDuel, and storytelling from fans’ point-of-view with 12up, 90min and DBLTAP. The company said Players’ Tribune is its third — and largest — acquisition to date.
“The Players’ Tribune represents one of the most dynamic sports digital media brands in the world,” said Asaf Peled, founder and CEO of Minute Media. “Adding the brand’s athlete community, authentic storytelling and premium content offering to our portfolio is an incredible asset.”
As part of the Minute Media sports portfolio, the Players’ Tribune will continue to exist as a standalone brand but with the benefit of expanded global reach and access to an integrated publishing platform that includes audience-development tools.