Derek Jeter’s media startup, The Players’ Tribune, has drawn a lot of interest from sports fans because all the articles are written by current and former pro athletes.
But the biggest spark came on Sunday, when Kobe Bryant announced his retirement exclusively through a post on The Players’ Tribune.
Bryant’s post was the most trafficked story ever on the site, attracting more than a million visits within the first two hours of going live — and causing the Players’ Tribune to shut down temporarily on Sunday.
“It’s fair to say the post caused the site to crash,” the company told us in an email.
In large part due to Bryant’s post, the Players’ Tribune also had the best month to date in November. The site said it’s averaging two million unique visitors per month, with each visit generating 4 to 5 minutes of average time on page, but last month saw over 4 million uniques.
Bryant’s decision to announce his retirement through Jeter’s startup shouldn’t have been surprising if you’ve been following the company since its launch last year. Bryant led the $5.5 million follow-on Series B round of investment in October, according to Crunchbase, and said he’s made a “significant investment” in the site.
The Players’ Tribune, founded in 2014 by Jeter following his retirement from baseball, has raised a total of $18 million to date. The venture capital firm NEA is also a big investor in the company.
The site started out with a single post a month, but now it’s generating multiple stories a day. Some of the other most popular posts were written by Pete Sampras, David Ortiz, and Jason Collins.