Bleacher Report is a unique born-digital platform, as some could argue that the majority of its traffic comes from the use of their mobile app ‘TeamStream’ rather than their web page. Bleacher Report has leaned on the intuitiveness of its app and the constant barrage of PUSH notifications sent to app-users, keeping them updated on the most recent stories and scores in the sports world.
Each registered user’s content is customized to their sports and team affinities, and even caters to niche markets such as MMA, boxing, and horse racing. Users have the freedom of picking and choosing what sports and teams to receive notifications on. Push notifications keep users engaged with the app and many times lead to users reading the article on the app/site. The vast number of articles posted daily, real-time updates, and simplicity and customizability of their TeamStream app are main reasons why Bleacher Report has become so popular over the years.
Bleacher Report distinguishes itself from other sports news sites by mixing pop culture with sports. Many of their featured articles are focused more towards entertaining the reader rather than enlightening them on sports. They publish many list/slideshow articles such as “Top 25 Best College QBs” and trending stories about sports icons and fans. Many have been critical of the quality of their articles and Bleacher Report seemingly has looked to improve their image with their growing interest in publishing think pieces and investigative articles, further diversifying their already varied content1. Over the past few years, they have even begun producing their own content with various animated minisode series, parodying the latest occurrences in sports and pop culture.
Their site is extremely immersive, with sections dedicated to individual sports, teams and content style. For example, the site has a longform section dedicated exclusively to longform style articles. Their ‘BR Mag’ section utilizes a magazine style layout and features their more investigative stories similar to ones seen in magazines such as Sports Illustrated. Their diverse coverage and specialized writers accommodates all types of sports fans.
With almost four million followers on Twitter, their social media presence is quite crucial to their image. Every post of theirs includes either an image or video highlights and often a link to their website. Many posts pertain to pop culture trends and internet memes and often include the use of emojis and photoshop. This is indicative of their main target audience of millennials, who are up to date on the latest internet trends and movements. Many of their articles also often include snapshots of tweets/instas from journalists, players, and fans.
Featured columnist of BR and published author, Mike Freeman, is a main contributor for the site covering the NFL. He mainly specializes in opinionated pieces such as his weekly ’10 Point Stance’ series where he gives his two-cents on 10 timely topics, many times referring to politics and social issues. His articles are often investigative, giving readers an inside look of the sports world by interviewing league professionals and players. Many of his articles are headlined with a question as the title, such as his latest article “Free Agent Tony Romo Worth the Risk?” This is a common theme across the site, as many headlines try to invoke clicks and traffic. With over eighty thousand followers on Twitter, Freeman’s social media presence is comparable to other columnists at more traditional networks such as the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. He regularly interacts with his followers, answering questions, retweeting/sharing gifs, and getting into arguments. If he’s not sharing sports related stories, he’s sharing or talking politics.
Bleacher Report has surged in recent years, relying heavily on the popularity of their mobile app. When visiting the site, the only pop up ads seen are reminders to download their app. Covering all the ins-and-outs of the sports realm has cemented their place in the hearts of sports fans around the world. As the platform gains popularity, the gap in resources available between more traditional sports entities and BR shrinks, giving BR the chance to improve on the quality of its content and prove their credibility.