Can Bleacher Report turn its writers into media personalties?

Bleacher Report is looking less like a geeky fan site and more like a sports media operation.

The site’s growth has been fueled by fans contributing absurdly specific slide shows like “Five Reasons CC Sabathia should eat fewer pork chops on game day”. Lately, though, Bleacher Report has been stocking up on real writers who are covering everything from the NFL draft to college sports. The site has hired 25 “lead writers” this year and will be bringing on more as football season heats up.

The pro writers are drawn in equal part from established bloggers and from Bleacher Report volunteers who are promoted through the ranks. The site’s co-founder, Dave Finocchio, says Bleacher Report looks for able writers who have a strong grasp of social and ability to build communities.

“The lead writers serve as voices for the site and as spokespeople,” he said, noting that Bleacher Report writers are now appearing on more than 50 external radio and tv spots every week. They are also expected to attend “have a beer” events with fans and volunteer writers.

Grooming writers as media figures in their own right is nothing new of course, but Bleacher Report stands out for how aggressively it is working at that mission. The site’s splash factor may also be driving the rumors that it’s a $200 million acquisition target for Turner.