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.
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."