The Players’ Tribune: A Means of Self-Advertising?

Professional sports are a steadfast subject for nearly all news outlets. Whether there is information about players, scandals, or recent stats, the news is filled with sports-related banter. Unfortunately, sports teams and their members rarely have a say in what is reported and what ends up being published, thus affecting how their brand is advertised in the public eye. While players can use outlets, such as Twitter or Facebook, this only gives them a small space to clarify previously said information or to generate their own, new content.

After his recent retirement, Derek Jeter decided to create The Players’ Tribune, a forum that allows professional athletes to talk to their publics and to discuss what they find important. Professional athletes are free to create first-person stories, podcasts, and videos, along with other forms of content about what they consider reader worthy at that moment.

Athletes can use this forum as a means of self-advertising, which is described as “the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, or need.” By having control of what is said or promoted, this forum is offering athletes the ability to control their message to their target public: fans and media. This new publication has given traditional sports marketing a different twist that could change how athletes market and advertise their brands. With the help of AOL for distribution, SiriusXM for a radio show, and Porsche for advertising, The Players’ Tribune has multiple outlets to share the stories of these professional athletes.

By advertising with successful brands like AOL, Sirius XM, and Porsche, the contributors of The Players’ Tribune are now associating their brand with the images of these established companies. This affects the brand image of the professional athletes in a positive way, because readers already have an idea of how these popular brands represent themselves. If Derek Jeter had chosen to advertise with brands that were less popular, they might not have helped The Players’ Tribune in a positive way.

Four months later, The Players’ Tribune is gaining participation from all types of athletes that represent different sports. So far the publication has featured posts by Russell Wilson, Kobe Bryant, Danica Patrick, and many other professional athletes. Some guest writers have even taken it upon themselves to write again after their first pieces were published.

While traditional media will still have validity, The Players’ Tribune will offer an unbiased, reporter-free option for sports fans everywhere to read. Professional athletes are now able to use a reliable source to build and promote their own brands without other influences.

Do you think that The Players’ Tribune will gain a big enough following to become a primary provider of sports news?

– Hannah Rodgers, Kaitlyn Russell, Anna Joy Zima

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