As someone who barely follows professional sports, it always amazes me how knowledgeable and opinionated about sports that ordinary people can be. Bleacher Report is a publishing platform formally launching this week that wants to give a voice and audience to those people who seem to always have an opinion about the current draft, drug scandal, preseason or playoffs.
Bleacher Report is essentially a centralized blogging platform for sports where anyone can sign up and begin writing stories about college and professional sports. It’s not an aggregation service that crawls the web for amateur sports news and editorial, but writers who already run their own blogs can manually choose to feed their stories into Bleacher Report in addition to writing them on-site.
While sports writers could simply sign up for accounts at WordPress or Blogger, they’d do better to publish at Bleacher Report for several reasons. The first and most compelling reason is a better audience. The site attracts sports fans and surfaces the best content to the homepage after assessing several factors such as writer rankings, editor ratings, community ratings, and hits. Readers who like your stuff can become your “fan” and track your work alongside others’ on a special “lineup” page. And articles published to Bleacher Report are categorized into sections like “New York Giants” and “MLB” so your content is found by those interested in just those topics.
Perhaps the most innovative thing about Bleacher Report is its built-in community editing system. Writers who published to Bleacher Report actually give an extensive amount of control over their articles to other members. The community serves as a collective editor that works not only to correct grammatical and spelling errors but to improve the prose more generally. Nothing is strictly out of bounds, including article headlines, but the original writers do have the power to revert changes made by the community. According to the site’s founders, this group editing system has been a very popular feature during the beta period.
Like many sites we see these days, Bleacher Report also integrates typical social networking features. Members have full-blown profiles that list their recent articles alongside bios, fans, and recent activity. And news feeds called “play-by-plays” give you a sense of the activity occurring around the site.
Bleacher Report recently secured Series A funding from Hillsven Capital, Transcoast Capital, and Jakob Lodwick (the founder of Vimeo), among others. I suspect the site will do quite well for itself given the passion of many sports fans and the quality of potential acquirers. Bleacher Report writers should do well for themselves too; we’re told that several have already used the site to launch professional writing careers.