Bleacher Report, Turner Broadcasting’s sports-content brand aimed at millennial audiences, has made several key editorial hires for its social-first content strategy.
Turner acquired Bleacher Report in 2012 for a reported $175 million, and this spring the media company said it plans to invest $100 million in BR over the next three years.
To lead daily editorial strategy, New York-based Bleacher Report has hired Ben Osborne as editor-in-chief. Most recently, he was EIC of Slam magazine, focused on NBA players and basketball culture, and before that wrote for publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
Matt Sullivan joins from the U.K.’s Guardian as director of editorial innovation and special projects for Bleacher Report. He’s a former editor at the New York Times, the Atlantic and Esquire. In addition, the division has hired R. Smith as director of the content design team focused on special projects and innovation; he joins BR from the New York Times, where he led design for the biggest news and enterprise features.
Finally, Jonathan Abrams, former staff writer at ESPN’s Grantland and sports reporter at the New York Times, has joined Bleacher Report as a special projects writer. He is also the author of “Boys Among Men: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution.”
“Bleacher Report is the premier digital destination for millennial sports fans, a leading next-generation content creation-company that drives deep levels of engagement with its audience across all platforms,” said president Rory Brown, who oversees the site’s editorial operations.
Overall, BR says it reaches 200 million people each month across multiple social platforms, with 80% of its audience under the age of 34. Bleacher Report has seen especially swift growth on Instagram, recently surpassing 3 million followers on the Facebook-owned service.
Bleacher Report has a 40-person “social moments” team dedicated to capitalizing on key highlights surrounding live sporting events, and Brown said it is continuing to hire platform-specific content creators for Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat. In addition, BR’s Team Stream mobile app has surpassed more than 15 million downloads this year and averages 230 minutes per unique each month, with 85% of the apps users under the age of 35.