Cydni Robinson

There’s​ More to Sports Media than ESPN

Recode Media | How Bleacher Report Evolved was my favorite podcast out of the two this week. Not because I like sports but because of the information about them growing on Instagram from Facebook. They also hit some similar points I think about all the time. This was a learning experience for me mostly but as I listened to this I came across three points.

#1…. Social media careers aren’t a walk in the park like you may think.

When it comes to social media, most of us utilize it as a place to post selfies, photos and funny memes and videos for our friends and family to watch. On the other hand, when you put that into a career category people sometimes give you the side-eye, (especially when you aren’t a publication like the New York Times or something like that). I am also guilty for the side-eye reaction, as I thought it was no possible way you could make a living doing something like that.

Listening to this podcast without a doubt showed me something different. CEO Dave Finocchio talks about the different processes growing the Bleacher Report and transitioning from Facebook to Instagram. He and his team grew the platform from 1 million followers to 6 million currently.

One thing we are discussing in class is our audience, and I think Mr. Finocchio’s outlook on it was spot on. He said that the magic is in how the content is framed up, and how you connect that content through the text and culture. If its funny, or something is going on in culture, that’s when the audience gets excited.

He explained that the platform makes money through advertisements. These being: partnerships, sponsorships and commercial ads for brands that create amazing content as well. This took me back to some our first readings where it said that advertising revenue was growing.


#2…. The new age of media.

If its one thing I and many others say all the time, it’s that media is not the same as it was 10 years ago. Live reports became popular when there wasn’t really any competition for entertainment. For a simple summary…. ESPN basically isn’t the end all be all anymore.

Let’s face it we are on our phones so much we are going to find game results on or phone much faster then if we were to try and get to a TV and get game highlights. In the podcast they say that shows with people sitting down talking about sports is becoming a dinosaur. Yes, old people still like it, but who needs that when you have Instagram? Bleacher Report gives some of the same highlights ESPN or other outlets give and the great thing about that is it is right there as soon as we need it.

#3…. Which way is better?

This part really stood out to me when he talked about different brands. For the Bleacher Report, he described the platform as a brand who had an audience first before building their brand and not being brand-first, meaning the audience isn’t big but the users are loyal and passionate.

Now, in my opinion, either one works just fine. If you have an audience first this may just mean people came across something that was worth keeping up with and it allows you to narrow down on what that is to make it a brand. On the other hand, having a well-established brand first is also great because all that is left is figuring out how to grow that brand. In that case, you can do what Finocchio did and data-mine what people want to see; then come back each year and see how to do it better.

All in All, I really enjoyed this podcast. It really caught my attention on how to grow an idea.

7 thoughts on “There’s​ More to Sports Media than ESPN

  1. Hi Cyndni,

    I agree on your points of social media- its tricky to get “your name” out there when a loyalty isn’t attached to it. These articles really have helped me think more critically about what actually goes in to these types of start ups.

    Secondly, I thought your point of “ESPN basically isn’t the end all be all anymore.” was spot on. There are a variety of ways that kids our age our gathering their facts on sports which really shows how the sports industry is branching out. Overall, great read!


  2. Cydni, you’ve made some really good points. Going off of the audience not being big, however they’re loyal and passionate, I think this is important to understand. With a loyal/ passionate audience you know that you always have someone to listen to your podcast, click your website link, etc. As time goes on your audience will continue to grow because your faithful listeners will spread the word and share your link and even when those newcomers start trickling in and out, at the end of the day, your loyal audience will still be right there.


  3. I enjoyed this for several reasons, okay I like sports a lot. Besides that being the case I enjoyed how you pointed out key points within the podcast. All of your points were valid and I enjoyed the second point the most because it showed how Bleacher Report came about at the right time and timing is everything in this industry.


  4. I agree that social media jobs aren’t as easy as some people think they are. I also agree with what you said about how social media has changed in the past 10 years and today, we will get game updates before we go on ESPN to watch game highlights. Also, I feel like everyone just automatically thinks of ESPN when they think of sports and think it’s the only way to get sports but that’s definitely not the case.


  5. I loved listening to the Bleacher Report podcast too! I thought it was so interesting how he noticed that out of touch ESPN seemed to be with their fanbase and took advantage of that with his own company. Being a fan of ESPN I can totally notice a difference in their programming over the past 5 years and their effort to be more of a sports entertainment company rather than a sports news! Great post


  6. Hello Cydni,
    I also thought the Bleacher Report podcast was great. I really liked how you formatted this blog and how easy it was to read through it. I also thoroughly enjoyed how inquisitive you are throughout the article. I too find it interesting how Bleacher Report totally took advantage of social medias like Instagram and used it to their benefit to build a company. Great blog!


  7. Awesome article! You started with a headline that grabbed me right away as a sports consumer! I also like how you broke down your reasons to clear points and expanded on each thought! I’m glad you touched on the concept talked about in the podcast that live sports is dying. To me as an avid NBA fan I totally agree and I see this change happening in a wide scale way. For example, the NBA offers a thing called NBA League Pass. For a certain price you can buy the ability to watch every game of every team either live or on demand. I currently have NBA League pass and I find myself watching more games on-demand then live because I don’t have to deal with commercials and unless it’s a super important game I don’t feel like I have to build my schedule around the NBA when I have access to the game on my demand. This is why I love what Bleacher Report is doing by building strong presence on social media because like you said people are more willing to catch information on their phones then look to find the ESPN channel.


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