US sports website expands into UK with ambition to break into 'hegemony' of traditional newspapers

US sports news website Bleacher Report has launched in the UK with the aim of becoming one of the top five sports sites in the country.

Since Bleacher Report UK went live at the start of August, it claims more than 30,000 people have subscribed to its free app.

The site, owned by Turner Sports, has recruited 12 full-time journalists, including seven permanent staff and five full-time freelances.

It has hired former Eurosport managing editor Lee Walker as managing editor and former ESPN managing editor Alex Livie as world football editor.

Walker told Press Gazette that the site would provide sports fans “with something that no one else is doing” as it will “curate” news gathered by its own reporters as well as other news organisations.

“The sheer weight of news will speak for itself,” added Walker.

He said the model differed from other websites which feature either only exclusive content or are largely unfiltered aggregators of news. More than half of the site’s content is expected to come from other sources.

“There’s an obsession with ownership of content but we’ve got no problem with linking out,” said Walker. “It’s very much a mutual exchange.”

Bleacher Report will also offer team-specific news services via its Team Stream app, with other stand-alone streams available for fantasy football and sports betting news.

The UK site will focus primarily on sports not covered in depth by its more established US parent, particularly football, cricket, rugby and Formula 1.

The original site, which was founded in 2007, claims to be the third most popular sports site in the US, with 50m unique users a month worldwide. Around a quarter of visitors are from outside the US and Walker said the success of the site in the States could be matched in the UK.

“There’s no way that can’t be replicated here,” said Walker, adding that he would like to break the “hegemony of traditional newspapers”.

He added: “I’d like us to be in the top five [sites].”

In addition to the full-time writers, Bleacher Report UK has a roster of around 70 contributors, including Guardian writer Jonathan Wilson, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague and former Liverpool and England striker Stan Collymore.

Walker said that list was likely to grow to beyond 100 in the run-up to next year’s football World Cup in Brazil.

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