The Players' Tribune's Possible Sale Comes As Audience, Revenue Slip
Reports that Derek Jeter is looking to sell The Players' Tribune come as the site has "produced too little content to thrive in a crowded digital media landscape," despite having "access to some of the most sought-after sports talent in the world," according to Max Willens of DIGIDAY. TPT has "attracted fewer than 1 million monthly unique users in 14 of the past 15 months." The startup, which launched in '14, has "failed to keep its costs under control, paying top dollar to work with talent that did not always promote the finished product." Its editorial department has "chosen quality over quantity to a degree almost unheard-of in ad-supported digital media." On a "good week, the site might publish five pieces of content." TPT "laid off editorial staffers last year and at the start of this year." On some level, the "low level of output did not matter because The Players' Tribune did not rely on display advertising for meaningful revenue." However, sources said that the site has often paid athletes "more than the campaigns themselves were worth." That helped "attract top-shelf players in the early going but led to high costs that put pressure on The Players' Tribune's branded content programs." One source said, "It really worked when the athlete came in really excited. But for the athletes, this is not important to them. ... This is pocket change" (DIGIDAY.com, 11/6).