Derek Jeter, JJ Watt and Kevin Durant on set with American Family Insurance on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)
The ­Players’ Tribune has about 1,200 contributing athletes, from Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors to race-car driver ­Danica Patrick, eager to offer their takes. See more of the athletes that have contributed to this relatively new sports website. Here, Derek Jeter is on set with American Family Insurance on June 28, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA.Taylor Baucom — The Players' Tribune Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune
Derek Jeter, JJ Watt and Kevin Durant on set with American Family Insurance on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)
DAYTONA, FL -- February 13, 2016 -- NASCAR driver Danica Patrick practices for the first time in her new Nature's Bakery #10 at Daytona International Speedway.  (PHOTO / Chip Litherland of The Players Tribune)
Portrait of Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz at Fenway Park, Boston MA 06/12/2015Credit: Clay Patrick Mcbdride/The Players' Tribune
Portrait of NBA Kevin Durant photographed at Canoe Studios New York, NY, 09/25/2015.Photo by Nate Gordon/The Players' Tribune
Christen Press Profile
Richard Sherman Celebrity Softball game at Safeco Field on Saturday, July 9, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)
Paul Pierce
Von Miller
Blake Griffin visits the Players' Tribune office on June 25, 2017 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Nate Gordon/The Players' Tribune)
Richard Sherman gets ready in his hotel room before the Richard Sherman Celebrity Softball Gala on July 9, 2016 in Seattle, WA. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)
Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers photographed by Walter Iooss Jr. in San Francisco, California on 2015-11-24.credit: Walter Iooss Jr./The Players TribuneCopyright:The Players' Tribune
Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) on September 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players Tribune)
USA Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad (right), with older sister of Faizah, herself a highly ranked fencer, celebrating her marriage. Photo by Lynn Johnson/The Players' Tribune
6/23/16 3:13:20 PM -- Chicago, IL, USA Jimmy Butler visits with B.A.M. youth at Trinity School in Chicago, IL Todd Rosenberg for the Players Tribune
Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers checks his phone after the victory parade for the 2016 NBA Finals on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn for the Players' Tribune)
Cam Newton 2016 offseason photosCredit: David Ricks
Scouting Myself
Dexter Fowler visits The Players' Tribune office and TPT Studio B on November 7, 2016 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)
CJ McCollum of the Portland Trailblazers (NBA) on September 24, 2014, in Portland, OR. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/The Players' Tribune)
Portrait of Los Angeles Clippers center Deandre Jordan, photographed in Los Angeles, California, July 12, 2016.Photo by Walter Iooss Jr./The Players' Tribune
The ­Players’ Tribune has about 1,200 contributing athletes, from Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors to race-car
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Taylor Baucom — The Players' Tribune Taylor Baucom/The Playe
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Derek Jeter Swings for Video Hits With the Players’ Tribune

Feb 19, 2017

A couple of days after this year’s Super Bowl, a newsletter from a relatively new sports website featured links to videos in which three National Football League players talked, in passionate terms, about race relations. Virtually all sports sites have reported on NFL players’ responses to the recent spate of racially charged violence. But few have featured the athletes’ perspectives in this kind of context—in their own words, at length, and not (noticeably) filtered through league or team PR offices.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Players’ Tribune is all about. The site, started in 2014, was cofounded by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter—a future Hall of Famer who had a great relationship with the traditional media during his playing days.

Dismissed by some as a vanity project when it launched, the site got traction once pro athletes began using it to break news. Just one example: Last summer, NBA standout Kevin Durant published a Players’ Tribune essay to announce that he was signing with the star-studded Golden State Warriors. The site says it now averages about 100 million monthly content views, a small but growing fraction of the traffic at Yahoo Sports or ESPN.com.

Derek Jeter works at The Players' Tribune offices in New York, NY on November 5, 2015. (Photo by Nate Gordon/The Players' Tribune)Jeter works at The Players' Tribune offices in New York, NY on November 5, 2015. Nate Gordon — The Players' Tribune 

In January the site announced it had raised $40 million in new investments, bringing its total funding to $58 million. Much of that money will be spent on ramping up video efforts, where the site could be part of a looming wave of tech disruption. Live sports has long been seen as the last bastion of the traditional cable bundle, and most professional leagues are tied up in lucrative, multi­year licensing agreements with TV networks. But nontraditional media companies have been edging their way in. Twitter (twtr) has a modest deal to live-stream a small subset of NFL games. Hulu’s planned live TV service is expected to include sports in its lineup. And Amazon has reportedly met with various profes sional leagues to discuss ­licensing.

If the sports broadcast business model continues to fray, the ­Players’ Tribune will have an edge over competitors: about 1,200 contributing athletes, from Durant to race-car driver ­Danica Patrick, eager to offer their takes. Though they’re likely years away, the opportunities could be lucrative: Imagine streaming live sports events directly from a player’s point of view.

“We’re pretty far from bidding on NFL games,” says Jon Sakoda, a gen eral partner with New Enterprise Associates, one of the investors in the Players’ Tribune. “But I think there will be many exciting possibilities as cable begins to unbundle.”  

A version of this article appears in the March 1, 2017 issue of Fortune with the headline "Derek Jeter's Next Swing."

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