It’s been fun to watch Bleacher Report grow from some random publishing site for amateur sports writers to a full-blown digital sports network backed by $40+ million in venture capital. Today, with 25 million unique visitors per month, Bleacher Report has become the fourth largest sports media property on the Web.
Over the last year or so, the popular sports network has been doubling down on its team-specific coverage, convinced that this has become the preeminent way that fans follow sports. Since January, the startup’s so-called Team Stream apps have lived on iPhone, Android, and the iPad, offering fans personalized dashboards with headlines, top stories, and tweets from their favorite teams. And today, Bleacher Report is bringing Team Stream to its home page.
Similar to its Team Stream apps, the new section of its homepage offers viewers realtime news on teams and topics from Bleacher Report’s bullpen of unpaid bloggers and professional sportswriters, as well as curated popular news from top sports destinations.
Team Stream allows fans to customize the homepage with content from as many of their favorite teams as they choose, and log in to Facebook to save their team settings so that the news appears every time a user visits the site — but login isn’t required to access team stream. And as an example of Bleacher Report’s somewhat unique approach to sports news, your personalized Team Stream is curated by the site’s editors, rather than by RSS aggregation. It’s all hand-picked.
It’s also interesting to see the site taking a mobile experience and applying it to the desktop in a kind of reverse-publishing initiative. If it works on mobile, why not bring it to the Web?
Bleacher Report’s new homepage will also include a social module that features trending topics on social media networks, enabling fans to quickly share content with their friends, along with beefing up its “Lineup” section, which will now feature national sports stories and video clips to be periodically updated over the course of the day.
The move today becomes yet another example of how publishers are increasingly looking to focus on bringing personalized content to their readers as a way to encourage clicks, repeat visits, and engagement. Bleacher Report may be in the minority when it comes to sports media offering customized content, but this is sure to be just the beginning — after all, the sports team from my area is without a doubt superior to the sports team from your area — and I want to be able to prove that, across platforms.