For all the millions of people who never make a dime off their site, there are the select few who hit it big. As in winning the lottery big.
Monday, the founders of the Bleacher Report cashed their ticket. Turner Sports bought the site for a reported $175 million.
Bleacher Report was founded in 2006 by four 20-somethings as an outlet for fans to discuss their favorite teams. From the San Jose Mercury News:
Within months, the site became a hit thanks to a legion of contributors willing to write about sports for free.
“Most of our contributors aren’t professional journalists. They’re lawyers by day, Giants fans by night,” CEO Brian Grey described in an interview last year.
Writing about sports for free? Wonder who in the world would do that?
OK, enough about me.
Turner needed a sports presence after SI.com shift over to Time Inc. From the release:
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. has acquired Bleacher Report (B/R), one of the fastest-growing sports digital properties on the Internet, it was announced today by David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports of Turner Broadcasting. San Francisco-based B/R (http://www.bleacherreport.com) and its popular mobile offerings will now operate as part of the Turner Sports division.
B/R delivers original and entertaining sports editorial content and is a leading sports media destination, delivering over 10 million monthly unique visitors. The company has developed a next-generation publishing model powered by an expanding base of passionate and knowledgeable contributors who deliver high-quality content that readers crave at the team and topic level.
“Bleacher Report is a strategic acquisition that further enhances Turner’s portfolio of sports offerings, as well as reflects our continuing commitment to bring fans greater content across all screens throughout the entire year,” said Levy. “As brand builders and content providers, we were attracted to Bleacher Report’s fast growth to a leading marketplace position and a valued consumer destination. The site will continue to innovate and provide users and sports fans with branded news and information. With our expansive digital rights and resources, Turner will further ensure Bleacher Report’s continued growth and success.”
Levy added, “With the acquisition of Bleacher Report, we have added another dimension to our portfolio of digital and mobile properties that will enable us to offer our advertising partners integrated opportunities across all screens and demos that will enhance our ability to monetize sports programming throughout the entire year.”
“Bleacher Report was created to put fans first, and we are excited to integrate our innovative content publishing model and engaging multi-platform consumer digital media experience within Turner Sports’ world-class television and digital content portfolio,” said Brian Grey, in his newly-expanded role as chief executive officer, Bleacher Report & senior vice president, Turner Sports. “Together the portfolio will define how content creators, consumers and marketers come together around the sports team and topic content experience that fans will consume across every screen.”
Turner Sports currently manages digital properties on behalf of the NBA, NCAA and PGA, oversees ad sales for NASCAR.COM and has a strategic sales relationship with Yahoo! Sports. B/R will complement a preeminent collection of brands within the Turner Digital portfolio spanning entertainment, sports, kids, news and comedy destinations across broadband, mobile and tablet. The Turner Digital portfolio currently reaches 86 million unique visitors a month.
In addition to its digital portfolio, Turner Sports broadcasts a number of events year-round on TBS, TNT and truTV, including the NBA, MLB, NASCAR, the PGA Championship and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Its on-air roster of announcers and analysts includes Marv Albert, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr, Shaquille O’Neal, Cal Ripken, Dennis Eckersley, John Smoltz, Ron Darling, David Wells and Kyle Petty, among others.
Grey will continue to oversee B/R’s day-to-day operations out of its San Francisco offices and will report directly to Lenny Daniels, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Turner Sports. Together, Grey and Matt Hong, senior vice president and general manager of operations for Turner Sports, will partner in the overall management and integration of the Bleacher Report operations into the Turner Sports portfolio.