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Derek Jeter just played his last game as a member of the New York Yankees four days ago, but he’s already launched his next endeavor, partnering with Legendary Entertainment on a digital startup called The Players’ Tribune that promises to be a way for athletes to directly connect with their fans.
As the site’s founding publisher, Jeter wrote in a letter on The Players’ Tribune website that the company was spurred by his own interactions with the New York media, saying he was often guarded because he worried that his comments might be distorted.
“I have a unique perspective,” he wrote. “Many of you saw me after that final home game, when the enormity of the moment hit me. I’m not a robot. Neither are the other athletes who at times might seem unapproachable. We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend.”
He added that he’s working with other athletes, editors and producers to create a platform to let players share what’s on their minds, including first-person stories and behind-the-scenes content. Over the next few months, he promised that the site would introduce a core of athlete editors and contributors, transforming it into an online community.
“My goal is for the site to ultimately transform how athletes and newsmakers share information, bringing fans closer than ever to the games they love,” Jeter wrote.
The Players’ Tribune will provide fans with unprecedented access to top athletes across every sport. The platform will allow athletes to share written features, videos, podcasts, photo galleries, polls and more, covering everything from sports commentary to lifestyle and popular culture.
Legendary will provide creative support and capital. Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull is an avid sports fan who is part of the ownership group of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a Baseball Hall of Fame board member, in addition to producing movies like the Jackie Robinson biopic 42, Godzilla, Inception and the Dark Knight, Hangover and 300 franchises. Legendary also operates Nerdist.com.
“I have had the privilege of knowing Derek for a number of years,” Tull said in a statement. “His idea of providing athletes with a platform to communicate directly with their fans and the world at large is a forum that we are excited about.”
Joining Jeter and Tull on this endeavor are ESPN The Magazine founding editor Gary Hoenig, who serves as editorial director and is shaping the site’s team of editors; former Sports Illustrated photography director Maureen Cavanagh and former ESPN The Magazine executive editor Sarah Turcotte. Veteran sports content strategist Alex Rose serves as the site’s general manager and Mark Grande serves as its vp content and strategy.
“We have the chance to close the gulf between players and athletes and bring us all closer together,” said Hoenig. “It’s a great opportunity to change the playing field in a positive way.”
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