Kobe Bryant Invests In Players' Tribune

The Players’ Tribune, an online publisher with an editorial mission of connecting athletes directly to their fans, has raised $15 million in a new round of funding led by venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates. It includes an investment from NBA star Kobe Bryant.

Other investors included GenTrust, an investment management company that represents dozens of professional athletes, and Legendary Entertainment founder and CEO Thomas Tull. This is the second round of funding for TPT, which previously raised $3 million in July 2014.

Launched by retired MLB star Derek Jeter last year, TPT aims to give athletes more control in how they engage with fans, independent from teams, owners, sponsors and other media companies (though all these may be involved in partnerships).



To date, it has signed up over 350 athlete contributors, many of them also investors.

Bryant, who first became involved in TPT in December of last year, stated: “Through The Players’ Tribune, Derek and his team have built something special. A platform for athletes to own their own stories and present them to fans is an extremely powerful tool.”

The latest round of investment will be used to expand TPT’s multimedia editorial offerings, including more articles, video, photography and audio content on podcasts and The Players’ Tribune Radio.

The site’s video programming includes series like “Players’ POV,” “Singular Focus,” about pro training regimes and “1440,” focusing on 24 hours (1,440 minutes) in the life of a player. The site also plans to add some lifestyle content in the near future.

TPT is part of a wave of new digital media sites aiming to connect players and fans more closely. Most recently, last month Major League Baseball announced a partnership with Vixlet to launch a social network for baseball fans called, appropriately enough, “MLB Fans.”

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