By Eric Liaw, Somesh Dash, and Armaan Ali
Today, The Players’ Tribune announced a $40M Series C funding, and IVP is thrilled to partner with Founder Derek Jeter and the entire TPT team as the lead investor in the round. TPT is a digital-first media company dedicated to empowering world-class athletes to share their authentic stories with their fans. IVP is a leading later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA, and over the years we have been fortunate enough to partner with some truly exceptional, high growth companies, including Business Insider, Dropcam, The Honest Company, Netflix, Snap, Supercell, and Twitter. We believe TPT is well on its way to becoming a household name and a worldwide leader for a few reasons:
Explosive Off the Line
In only a little over two years since launch, The Players’ Tribune has become home to some of the most impactful and rich sports media content out there today. If you’ve followed sports at all over the past few years, you’ve probably heard of some of TPT’s pieces – the platform has been the first to break some of sports’ biggest stories, including Kobe Bryant’s retirement announcement, Matt Harvey’s pledge to pitch in the playoffs, and Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors. TPT was the primary source for each of these stories and had deeper access to the athletes than even the most well-established media outlets. The company’s platform has allowed it to forge real trust within the athlete community, and, as a result, TPT is becoming closer to the heartbeat of the game than nearly anyone else.
A Five Tool Player
But TPT is more than just the primary source for some of the most important sports announcements of the past two years, it is also home to some of the most engaging and unique sports-related content available today. Whether it’s Richard Sherman’s unfiltered dissection of the NFL’s relationships with its players, Von Miller sharing how much of a nerd he was growing up, Ibtihaj Muhammad’s reflections on being a female Muslim-American athlete, Larry Sanders explaining why he walked away from the NBA, Megan Rapinoe breaking down the greatest play she ever made, John Urschel stumping people with math problems, or Cam Newton’s poem to his newborn son, TPT’s platform hosts powerful, exclusive multi-format content that tells real stories from the perspective of athletes, on and off the field. In a world where narratives are often intentionally distorted and dominated by talking heads whose sole purpose is to scream louder than yesterday, TPT offers thoughtful, high-quality, and authentic content straight from the source, content that we think today’s sports media landscape desperately needs.
An All-Star Lineup
But TPT’s content hasn’t just resonated with fans – equally importantly, it’s loved just as much by athletes. Founder Derek Jeter saw the need for a trusted platform that enabled athletes to tell their own stories and share what they really think and feel. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to us that TPT’s athlete community encompasses one of the deepest rosters anywhere. TPT’s network of athletes is massive, diverse, and continuing to grow to include greats beyond baseball, football and basketball – everyone from soccer legend Gary Neville to tennis champ Caroline Wozniacki to League of Legends star faker has had content on the site. Along with management that has decades of experience across sports and media, it’s a team that we are thrilled to back.
Strength in Numbers
TPT counts over 1,200 world class athletes in its community, who have come to view the company as a trusted platform for them to share stories of victory and defeat, on or off the field. Despite its relatively recent launch, TPT has already built a loyal, fanatical audience and reaches millions of users every day. The company’s content has been viewed hundreds of millions of times, all across the globe. There aren’t many media platforms that we’ve seen reach this level of scale in such a short period of time. And even more than just sheer reach and user growth, TPT’s audience is highly engaged and becoming even more engaged as the company grows. It’s a testament to the quality of the platform’s content and another reason we are so excited to be on board.
And Still in the Early Innings
What The Players’ Tribune has managed to build in a short period of time is incredibly impressive, yet it’s just the beginning. We can’t wait for everyone to see what the TPT team has in store in the years to come as they lay the foundation for a franchise.
Eric Liaw and Somesh Dash are General Partners at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA. Armaan Ali is an Associate at IVP.