Derek Jeter unveiled his post-baseball retirement plans Wednesday with the launch of a new website, The Players’ Tribune, that “will present the unfiltered voices of professional athletes,” according to a statement on the website. Jeter will serve as founding publisher and Gary Hoenig, one of the founding editors of ESPN The Magazine, will be editorial director.
The irony of the business is rich since Jeter spent 20 years in New York rarely offering anything of substance to the press. Jeter tackles that idea on the site. “I do think fans deserve more than ‘no comments’ or ‘I don’t knows.’ Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted,” he writes.
Jeter launches a website for athletes three days after his final Yankees game.
Jeter is expected to recruit a small number of high-profile athletes from different sports to the site to “create a platform that gives us a chance to say what’s on our minds.” Jeter is the main investor in the new business and will take a hands-on role. Another investor is Legendary Entertainment CEO Thomas Tull, who has produced the Dark Knight, Hangover and 300 franchises, in addition to the Jackie Robinson biopic 42. Tull is a minority owner in the Pittsburgh Steelers and a Baseball Hall of Fame board member. Legendary and Tull will help with the video direction of the site. ”I have had the privilege of knowing Derek for a number of years,” said Tull 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.”
The Players’ Tribune is the next step for Jeter, 40, after a farewell tour season that earned both Jeter and the Yankees millions from merchandise sales. Jeter alluded to his new life in an interview with Matt Lauer of the “Today” show that aired Wednesday morning. “You know it’s funny, because someone had mentioned to me, I went from an old man in baseball to a young man in life,” he said. “And I liked how that sounded. So I consider myself young again.”
Jeter earned $400 million during his career through his playing salary and endorsements with Nike, Gatorade, Movado and others, and he has long talked about being a baseball team owner. But The Players’ Tribune is expected to be his primary business focus over the next two years. He also has a new publishing imprint with Simon & Schuster, Jeter Publishing, which last week released its first work, a children’s book called The Contract. A photo book, Jeter Unfiltered, will be released this month. Jeter will also ramp up his work with health-food firm Luvo post-retirement. He became an equity partner and was named Brand Development Officer of the company in January.
Jeter finally let down his two-decade guard after his final home game at Yankee Stadium when his emotions poured out during his post-game press conference. He envisions The Players’ Tribune as a place where other star athletes can share their thoughts and feelings through first-person features, videos, podcasts, photo galleries and more. “I’m not a robot. Neither are the other athletes who at times might seem unapproachable,” Jeter writes. “We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend.”
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