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Bleacher Report isn’t playing Fantasy Funding, scores $22M

Bleacher ReportNo this isn’t Fantasy Funding, sports news site Bleacher Report raised a $22 million round of funding yesterday.

Bleacher Report is an online sports publication trying to take on the big boys of sports media like ESPN and Sports Illustrated. The company publishes content primarily from contributors. Since launching in 2008, B/R has seen a growth spurt. The company hired a new chief financial officer, Drew Atherton, who came to the company from consumer portfolio website United Online. The company has also reached north of 20 million monthly unique visitors and started the “Fab Five,” a departure from the all-contributor content model.

The Fab Five include Dan Levy, Josh Zerkle, Bethlehem Shoals, Dan Rubenstein and Matt Miller, who are Bleacher Report’s newest lead writers. They will cover national sports, the NFL, the NFL draft, the NBA and college football.

This year the Bleacher Report also took on new chief executive Brian Grey who previously worked for Yahoo and Fox Sports.

Oak Investment Partners led the round with existing investors Crosslink Capital and Hillsven Capital.

“It has been a long time since we have seen this type of growth in the sports content space with an independent multi-sports media company competing and surpassing some of the giants,” said Fred Harman, managing partner of Oak Investment Partners in a statement.

Bleacher Report will use the funding to hire employees on its content development side as well as further examine its delivery of that content. Going forward, the company may incorporate video and mobile options for readers who want B/R on the road.

Bleacher Report was founded in 2008. The company manages upwards of 1,000 featured columnists and 7,000 contributors whose work is syndicated to a number of external publications such as USA Today, NBA.com and the Los Angeles Times.