Following the script from Mariano Rivera’s retirement one year ago, Derek Jeter’s retirement from major league baseball, was (minus any post-season glory) as on-brand as any of the parties involved could have wanted. Thanks to Jeter’s signature complete-lack-of-drama, and a pleasant lack of Drama King Alex Rodriguez, it almost felt like the good old days.
Going out in that most story-book fashion, with a game winning RBI, and with his celebrity mystique intact, the only question left was “what’s next?”
Today, Jeter took the tarp off his new project: The Players’ Tribune. The premiere destination for athletes and their fans to interact.
Don’t we already have resources for that? Aren’t there enough social media platforms?
As we can tell he’s already got a crack team on the project, with the site’s design borrowing the best modern web trends.
The trick, though, is that this is not for the fans, but for the athletes of the pro sports world. A media platform with their interests at heart. Like ESPN, but without the cronyism.
I can just imagine Jeter’s Don Draper-like pitch:
In today’s atmosphere, it’s too easy for athletes to ruin their own careers. In the age of dick pics, allegations, and entrepreneurial efforts doomed by a refusal to pay employees, we have much more to worry about than injuries.
Twitter trouble pops up every day, and what pro athlete has time to navigate the likes of Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever else is next?
You need the teflon don of the baseball diamond.
You need me, Derek Jeter.
I grew up in the spotlight, in the media capital of the world, New York City. On the back covers of the New York Post, the TMZ of newspapers.
And yet, what does the average sports fan know about me, Derek Jeter, The Captain?
I’m from Kalamazoo, MI, I’ve dated plenty of models and actresses, and rumor has it I’ve been “generous” enough to give them valuable gift baskets on their way home.
That’s it. They know two sentences. Barely even enough to fill an elevator ride .
You know, the way it used to be. The way it should be. I’ve got my image secure. And every single licensing opportunity I could desire. I’ll sending my grandchildren’s grandchildren through grad school. That is, if I ever marry.
You Need The Players’ Tribune.
The positive image that Jeter’s cultivated over the lifetime in the public eye reaped, and will continue to generate, a metric ton of benefit.
In a season where a Yankees team, completely gutted by injuries, underperformed on a grand scale, none of that mattered because of the Derek Jeter farewell tour. Game tickets were sold for little other than to see the Captain off. Wish him farewell. As always, he irradiated positivity wherever he went. And the entire league clapped.
Even when Jeter’s final at bat at Yankee Stadium found him hitting a walk-off RBI single to beat the Baltimore Orioles, that team, and their social media account, paid their respects to the departing #2.
He’s the master of the public image, on a scale beyond even what Steve Jobs was able to pull off. All gloss, honor, and ticket sales. It’s only logical that he brought his talents to Branding.