It was a pretty big deal and a cool celebrity sighting when Derek Jeter made an appearance at Michigan’s football game vs. BYU on Sept. 26. At the time, it looked like an example of a fan using his legendary athlete status to score some access to pregame warm-ups and a favored spot on the Wolverines’ sideline.

But it wasn’t entirely surprising to see Jeter hanging out at a Michigan football game. He’s a Michigan native, born in Kalamazoo, and would have played baseball in Ann Arbor had the New York Yankees not made him their first-round draft pick in 1992. (Jeets probably made the right decision there.) Since then, Jeter has always maintained his fandom for the Maize and Blue and it appears that is now extending to a business relationship as well.

As it turns out, Jeter probably wasn’t in Ann Arbor just to soak up the atmosphere of a college football Saturday on the Michigan Stadium field and meet head football coach Jim Harbaugh. He was there on behalf of his athlete-driven media venture, The Players Tribune. One definite perk of being the founding publisher of his website is that he can provide an outlet for his favorite college athletics program.

The Players Tribune and Michigan will partner for an all-access series titled “Our Michigan” that will provide an exclusive inside look at the football, softball and men’s basketball programs. The series will include documentary videos, first-person features, photo diaries and articles written by famous Wolverines alumni during the 2015-16 athletic year.

“I first fell in love with the University of Michigan on my recruiting trip and then again while I was attending classes there. My heart has been there ever since,” said Jeter in an official statement. “Alongside other sports fans, I’m looking forward to getting to know these teams and these athletes. Go Blue.”

At the very least, this represents TPT’s first entry into college athletics after making news with exclusive first-hand accounts written by athletes that occasionally break news, along with digital video series allowing sports stars to show their training regimens, tell their stories or show a different side of their lives and personalities. Doing so with a nationally known brand like the University of Michigan helps the profile of what’s becoming a growing sports media power. 

Besides the obvious benefit Michigan gets in exposure and association with a growing media brand that can only help recruiting, is there anything else in this for Harbaugh? (Personally, I’m hoping for a video following the coach to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.) Maybe there’s a Midwest Bureau Chief or Senior Intensity Correspondent title at The Players Tribune in his future.


About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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