Bleacher Report appears determined to prove that love of minutia-based sports fare has no bounds. Today, the upstart sports site announced the launch of new YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) channels.
One of Bleacher Report’s new YouTube offerings is dedicated to a year-round discussion of the NFL draft while another offers updates on the college recruiting scene. The weekly shows are made by veteran TV producers and promise to offer penetrating insight into topics like the “NBA’s most notorious heckler” and “candid memories from current and former NFL stars on their draft experience.” Another channel borrows from Bleacher Report’s infamous “5 whatever whatever” formula and offers a daily round-up of buzzworthy stories hosted by minor MTV personality Desi Sanchez.
While it’s easy to mock Bleacher Report’s content, there’s no denying its ambition or success. Since launching in 2008, the site has grown by leaps and bounds and disrupted traditional sports journalism by relying on unpaid fan reporters led by a handful of mentors. According to the company, Bleacher Report is the web’s fifth biggest sports destination with 25 million unique monthly users. comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) counted 9.2 million unique visitors in December and 10 million in January.
The business strategy behind Bleacher Report’s YouTube launch is not clear from its release, but it appears videos of its “top 5” show are also available on its regular website. The NFL draft and recruiting “shows” (at one to six minutes, they are actually more like clips) appear for now to be available just on YouTube.
Meanwhile, competitor Sports Illustrated (NYSE: TWX) appears to have tested the YouTube waters but then lost interest — the SI channel has not been updated for months. The same is not true of SI’s swimsuit channel on YouTube which features a Valentine’s Day interview with a young woman who “sees herself on the cover of the SI Swimsuit issue for the first time and talks about what the prestigious honor means.”