Bleacher Report’s NFL Draft Coverage Capitalizes on New NYC Video Facilities
The Draft has long delivered B/R its most highly trafficked days
Bleacher Report’s decade-long history and evolution as a media company is an eventful one, but there has been one constant throughout all the changes for the digital sports giant: the NFL Draft.
Since the early days, the NFL Draft has been B/R’s Super Bowl, leading to production of a tremendous amount of content and its most highly trafficked days of the year — and it’s getting bigger. Last year, Bleacher Report set a new daily-traffic record with more than 8 million unique visitors (Google Analytics) in a single day on the Friday of Draft weekend. The Draft also produced a 41% increase in unique visitors for the first two days of the Draft (Thursday and Friday) over comparable content from last year.
The drama surrounding this year’s Draft seems to have B/R poised for another highly engaged weekend.
“This is one of the more turbulent Drafts in terms of expectations,” says SVP, Content, Joe Yanarella, who has worked NFL Drafts for B/R going all the way back to the early days of the company. “You’re seeing players who could go anywhere from 1 to 6. That doesn’t always happen. We could have three quarterbacks go in the first four or five picks. That doesn’t always happen. That creates an enormous amount of hype. It goes back to why the NFL Draft is such a huge event for B/R. The Draft has always been our Super Bowl because of our app and the amount of hope it provides to all teams. It has always consistently been our most heavily trafficked period of the year because we get so much news and information out to our hyper-engaged fans.”
This year’s Draft welcomes in a new wrinkle for B/R: the company will go rely more heavily on video production than it ever has. From its new facilities in New York City, B/R will stream a live Draft show on Facebook, YouTube, and its mobile app while also churning out loads of on-demand content for delivery to the site and app.
The live show will be produced from the company’s new studios. The five-camera shoot (including a jib) will be produced from a high-powered control room that houses a Ross Carbonite production switcher and a Ross Xpression for live on-air graphics and for graphics that supply the set monitors. There’s also a Ross Abekas Mira playout system for playback of highlights as players are drafted, and audio will be mixed via a Calrec Brio console. This marks the first year that B/R will produce its Draft coverage from this new studio.
To support the live efforts and to supplement the large amounts of video content that the B/R team has been assembling since January, editors will be stationed in a new ingest room to monitor and chop up clips and highlights from the show. Segments will be shared to the app and also spun around to fill out grade packages from the first two rounds.
These days, Bleacher Report’s strategy surrounding the Draft is more an exception than the norm. B/R has actively endeavored to be the voice for the millennial sports fan, focusing on everything from fashion to entertainment to fun and (at times) funny animated highlights, including integration of popular Instagram account House of Highlights. This event brings the company back to its roots of creating news and information-based content.
“The way that we look at the world, typically, is that we want to be at the interaction of sports, entertainment, and culture, but this event is really a pure news and information event,” says Yanarella. “This is a period of the year when we know the reach, power, potential, and excitement that fans have of just getting our information and getting it in a quick and concise manor.”