(Reuters) – Players Tribune, the three-year-old digital media company owned by former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, is expanding into Europe and looking to sign deals with networks, online streaming services and other content distributors, executives told Reuters.
The New York-based company, which has raised $58 million in funding, is looking to appeal to global advertisers and content distributors such as television networks and online streaming services like Netflix, said Jeff Levick, chief executive officer.
The company, which just started producing branded content last year, said it has signed several seven-figure deals with brands including Procter & Gamble Co and Samsung. The company declined to provide revenue numbers.
“We have shown that not only can we get global athletes but we can tell their stories,” said Levick, the former chief revenue officer of Spotify who joined Players Tribune last year as its first CEO.
Players Tribune in April will open offices in Barcelona and London and will launch in Europe this spring to coincide the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Given the popularity of athletes, particularly soccer players in Europe, expanding abroad makes sense, Levick said.
Unlike the U.S. site which has primarily focused on text, the European site will feature more video, Levick said.
Players Tribune is working with Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique and his investment group Kosmos, to grow the business in Europe and bring athletes’ stories to the platform, Pique said.
Players Tribune is also working on some shows, including a talk show that will be hosted by Pique interviewing fellow soccer players.
Jeter started Players Tribune to allow his fellow athletes to tell their stories. For example, last year, National Basketball Association point guard Isaiah Thomas wrote a first-person essay about the difficulties he experienced when the Boston Celtics traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers later traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Players Tribune is expanding into Europe and looking to grow revenue at a time when more advertisers are looking for “brand safe” environments where their messages will not be in danger of being juxtaposed to untoward content nearby, Levick said.
Players Tribune has about 3 million unique users a month, a fraction of those at sports sites like ESPN, which averages 85-95 million unique visitors per month.
But the audience is engaged, Levick said. Players Tribune averages 150 million content views a month and a viewer spends on average eight minutes on the site.
Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by David Gregorio