Derek Jeter Just Started Fragmenting Sports Content!!!
Remember when stocks were pretty much traded on the NYSE and NASDAQ, with the exception of the Greyhound Bus Company, which traded on the Amex?
Then Instinet came along. And Bernie Madoff. Then Optimark, but not really. Then the Arizona Stock exchange, but not really.Then Bloomberg Tradebook. Then REDI, ARCA, ATTN, ISLD, POSIT. Then more dark pools. Then ping destinations. Then off exchange electronic-routing flashes….
Sheesh. The market got all fragmented, as well as competitive and complex. It got weird, with all kinds of conflicts of interest in where an order would be routed for execution.
Guess what Derek Jeter just started doing! The Players Tribune (TPT) is his just-announced website that will compete with the major network hubs that tend to control sports content.
Each morning, let’s say you are on the treadmill. You fell asleep during the big game last night, and you want to know what happened. You tune to SportCenter. Or let’s say you are in your car, you tune to Boomer and Carton on the FAN, or Mike Francesa. Or let us say that you at your desk at work – you bring up ESPN.com. While sports content is not really in just one place to begin with, it is somewhat concentrated.
TPT is going to challenge that. Jeter and his backers will try to sign up key sports figures, and stake them so that when they have some important comments to make, or questions to answer, they do it on their website. Will it succeed? I guess one needs to ask if Phil Mickelson, Geno Smith, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, King James, and others will sign on. If they do, then The Players Tribune will be a unique product competing with unique content, and the marketplace will likely reward it. Ad sales will be brisk! I can already see it going public, or being bought by anyone from Disney to Microsoft. And Jeter will in one fell swoop match his career earnings Wall Street and Silicon Valley style.
TPT will attract other also-rans to the same business model. Maybe Matt Harvey will try a platform. Maybe A-Rod will. Maybe Big Papi or David Wright will try creating one too. Heck, maybe 40 similar platforms will emerge! And because each of these platforms will have, at least at first, unique content, their existence will create the need for some smart aggregation technology.
Maybe a new industry is started that does this aggregation. Maybe one such company is called Sports Content Exchange. Let’s say it takes content from each of the sites, licenses the usage for a small redistribution fee (or maybe pilfers the content anyway), and puts it together in a new aggregated site. This new aggregated site, Sports Content Exchange Dot Com will start to compete with ESPN too.
But here is the thing… Many of these also-rans will not be able to attract enough natural content to competitively stand on their own, in stark contrast to the success of TPT. Maybe 1993 Yankee shortstop Andy Stankiewicz starts a site, and the web hits just aren’t there. Maybe Andy strikes a deal with Sports Content Exchange Dot Com , and he tells them he will rebate them if they pick up content from his website. And Sports Content Exchange Dot Com says, “sure why not?” – Because it’s nice for them to be able to GET PAID for some of the content they are providing/aggregating, instead of paying for it, which they usually do.
And 40 other platforms like Andy’s start up, and are perhaps also too crappy to stand on their own. So they try paying Sports Content Exchange Dot Com to pick up their content as well.
What’s my point? Often-times innovation starts on Wall Street that can be far-reaching across industries. You all see how competition has fragmented our capital markets. A lot of the after-effects have been good for all of us. Some of them have not.
And now it is entirely possible that sports content is going to be “democratized” in the same way. I am guessing Derek Jeter will succeed. I am guessing he is very, very bright. Consuming sports content a decade from now is likely to be very different than it is today, and I think at that point many will point to Derek Jeter and TPT and credit them for the change.
This future market for sports content will likely bring some high-quality unique content very directly to consumers. It will also likely bring much blech “meh”-quality, non-unique content that will annoy everyone, and we will have to sift through that crappy content to get to the good content.