Bleacher Report Founder, General Manager And CTO Front Office Promotions
Bleacher Report took the sports world by digital storm after their 2012 acquisition by Time Warner for nearly $200 million resulting in new strategic advisory roles announced today for company founder and general manager Dave Finocchio and Sam Parnell, chief technology officer; while Dorth Raphaely becomes their new GM and Rory Brown the chief content officer, according to Matt Hong, vice president and GM, Tuner Sports. The Sports Techie community blog is now located in Atlanta where the Turner Broadcasting division operates its online sports coverage. I worked together with Bleacher Report during an Inside the Huddle fantasy football and big data contribution for Intel.
New Leadership Positions At Bleacher Report
Time Warner, the owners of TNT, TBS and CNN, successfully used Bleacher Report to expand their sports web presence. As a result of incredible online growth, this executive transition of leadership positions will result in Raphaely and Brown reporting directly to Hong, while Finocchio continues to push the envelope of creativity as he has consistently accomplished since being one of the company’s original founders in 2006. Content is still king.
In 2014, Bleacher Report set the sports business standard as the second biggest standalone website for the first time in company history from April through August with a significant 40 percent annual increase in cross-platform monthly unique clicks, according to comScore metrics. In fact, the Bleacher Report Team Stream app earned the number one ranking sports app position with 682 million minutes tallied in August and an additional 749 million minutes measured over the month of September under the leadership of Finocchio.
“Dave’s vision for Bleacher Report has always been based on the fundamental idea of best serving young sports fans at the teams and topics level,” said Hong. “Today, Bleacher Report follows that same premise and we’re thrilled both he and Sam will continue to have strategic roles as we further enhance our leading platforms, products and content offerings.”
A sports tech company needs a strong CTO and Parnell has been that person guiding Bleacher Report towards a completely mobile strategy first and foremost while heading the development of their portfolio of digital products and platforms. One of Finocchio and Parnell’s new roles involves intimate collaboration with Hong, Raphaely, Brown and the executive team in order to focus resources on diversifying the brand while gaining audience growth both nationally and around the globe.
Turner Sports is setting up a new strategic advisory board with and for Bleacher Report. The boards responsibility will be to set long term strategic initiatives for the expanding division, of which Finocchio and Parnell are a part of.
As the incoming general manager, Raphaely adds the important tasks of business operations, product management and design, engineering and aggressive oversight of international expansion to his current control of the programming, analytics and quality control teams. Raphaely, headquartered in San Francisco, became part of Bleacher Report back in April 2011 as the senior director of programming then was promoted to vice president of programming, analytics and quality control.
“Dorth has a deep understanding of the way sports fans consume media, and how to build products and services which facilitate and enhance that consumption,” said Hong. “Under his leadership, we look forward to the continuation of Bleacher Report’s unprecedented growth and the evolution of its tremendously successful portfolio that has generated strong results for Turner Broadcasting.”
Brown operates out of New York and supervises all types of content for Bleacher Report via a combined and synergistic content creation group. His new role is to drive both editorial and video content creation for the popular site and its top-rated Team Stream application. Brown became a Bleacher Report employee in 2008 initially as an assignment desk editor on a fast forward pace up the corporate ladder. As of July 2013, Brown assumed the vice president of content operations position after serving as the senior director of content operations from 2011-13 and director of programming from 2009-11.
“Rory has demonstrated a keen eye towards the creation and development of best-in-class content, as well as the creative packaging of it to drive engagement and a deeper connection with sports fans,” said Hong. “He will continue to strategically align the Bleacher Report brand with top content that best serves our passionate fan base at the teams and topics level.”
About Bleacher Report
Bleacher Report, a division of Turner Sports, is the leading digital destination for team-specific sports content and real-time event coverage, and is one of the fastest-growing digital properties in the U.S. Bleacher Report’s editorial and video teams, led by a growing roster of lead writers and premier contributors, create hundreds of pieces of content per day to provide fans with the most comprehensive experience for their favorite teams and topics across all major sports. Bleacher Report also provides an unmatched fan experience on mobile devices through Team Stream™, the top-rated, industry-leading tablet and smartphone app, and via the Bleacher Report daily sport- and team-specific email newsletters.
About Turner Sports
Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is an industry leader in televised and online sports programming, airing championship-level sporting events on TBS, TNT and truTV, and managing some of the most popular sports sites on the Internet. Turner Sports’ television lineup includes the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and professional golf. The company’s digital portfolio includes Bleacher Report, NCAA.com and March Madness Live, and PGA.com, as well as an accompanying collection of mobile websites and connected device apps. Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA Mobile, the NBA Game Time App, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com.
Sports Techie, This is our second opportunity working together with Bleacher Report. The first time was also my initial assignment as an iQ by Intel contributor when I interviewed the Inside the Huddle panel in 2013. I communicated with Intel Datacenter Vice President and General Manager, a STATS Sports Solutions GM, NFL Hall of Fame member Jerry Rice, and Kevin Meers, Harvard University senior and former NFL analytics intern, with a focus on fantasy football, big data and analytics.
Watch this Bleacher Report video – Inside the Huddle: Unlocking Intelligence in fantasy football:
The business of sports is now heavily influenced by Bleacher Report content. I am a user of the Team Stream iOS app and check it and the updates sent to my iPhone frequently. I also follow their twitter handle and Facebook fan page daily as plenty of our readers and followers do as well.
Congrats to these four pioneering executives who will shape the future Bleacher Report sports tech products, sticky content and fan-centric offerings, in addition to partnering with proactive sponsors that want to reach millions of users around the world via Bleacher Reports proprietary platform and digital assets.
If you have not done so already, do yourself a favor and download the free Team Stream app on your smartphone or tablet. Then pick your favorite sport organizations, associations and federations, and pro and college teams, to follow so you can read trending sports news, players and social media while enjoying their continued coverage and exclusive coverage of the NBA and March Madness in 2015 and beyond.
Bravo to Bleacher Report and Tuner Sports for a well done sports tech effort during 2014.
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