The Players’ Tribune, a media platform that distributes original athlete content, has acquired sports technology platform, Unscriptd in a non-cash transaction.
The Players’ Tribune was founded by former professional Major League Baseball player Derek Jeter, which provides daily sports conversation and publishes first-person stories directly from athletes.
The company has raised nearly $60 million in funding from various investment firms and celebrity backers like Kobe Bryant and the new deal will see Unscriptd’s mobile app help athletes create, edit and publish short-form videos directly to the site and social media feeds
“What it really does is eliminate a lot of the friction between athletes and their audiences, specifically in social,” The Players’ Tribune’s CEO, Jeff Levick said to Forbes.
The Players’ Tribune is primarily focused on solving athletes’ problems, such as discussing racism, mental health issues or contract negotiations and Levick says Unscriptd and its proprietary technology is uniquely suited for the job.
“It’s been really challenging to find technology partners who bring that same level of athlete-first sensibility to the businesses they’ve built,” Levick said.
“For us, this was very much a needle-in-a-haystack acquisition, to be able to find such a like-minded business; we’ve been focused on content, they’ve been focused on technology, and the acquisition has been about quickly bringing those two things together.”
Unscriptd co-founder and CEO, Brent Scrimshaw said: “Both businesses were born from a deep understanding and connection to the athlete first.”
“And as the discussions progressed, it became a no-brainer that the combination of The Players’ Tribune brand, commercial acumen and intimate athlete relationships, together with Unscriptd’s proprietary technology and complementary geographic footprint, was a perfect match.”
Unscriptd was founded in 2013 by a group of former Nike executives and in the years since, has amassed a network of some 2,500 athlete users ranging from superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Virat Kohli.
Unscriptd athletes will now be brought under The Players’ Tribune’s banner (the invite-only app will be rebranded as The Players’ Post), greatly expanding the site’s roster.
Levick believes that this new acquisition will increase viewership, saying “It makes it much easier for players to take the content that they’re producing with us and seamlessly share it across social; that should only raise how far and wide the content is received.”
“It’s solving an athlete problem in communicating with their fans.
“But for us, it’s equally a new opportunity to truly have a piece of technology that connects athletes with other athletes, not just here but globally.”