Bleacher Report, a site that features fan-written sports articles, has raised a first round of venture funding.
Co-founder Dave Nemetz won’t disclose the exact amount, but he confirms that the funding — led by Hillsven Capital — is in the “single-digit millions.”
We’ve covered other sports news sites in the past, but Nemetz says the competition falls into three broad categories: discussion forums, sites devoted to promoting particular athletes or teams and aggregators of blog posts and other news (see our profile of Yardbarker, for example). Bleacher Report, on the other hand, is about enabling fan-journalists. Anyone can write articles for the site, which left beta yesterday. The company’s algorithm — which takes into account writers’ ratings, the timeliness of an article, the hits generated and more — intends to ensure that the best content rises to the top of the site’s front page (see screenshot below).
The site’s algorithm has been popular with many sports bloggers who previously struggled to find an audience, because they can now tap into Bleacher Report’s built-in readership, Nemetz says. The site’s peer editing system is a hit, too, he claims.
“[Bloggers] aren’t used to people reading their stuff, let alone improving on it,” Nemetz says.
The site has 400,000 unique monthly visitors and publishes 2,000 sports editorials per month. Nemetz wants Bleacher Report to cover as many sports as possible, but he’s noticed that college sports that aren’t reliably reported on by traditional media tend to generate some of the highest activity.
Bleacher Report’s business model is based on advertising, including some campaigns centered on specific brands on products. While the site was in beta, it partnered with Warner Bros. to promote the feel-good sports film We Are Marshall by asking readers to write articles about the movie’s themes.
The San Francisco-based company will use the funding to add new features like videos and podcasts.
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