Like many publishers in today’s media landscape, events have become a key way for Bleacher Report to create additional monetization opportunities for partners, as well as new ways to bring a brand that is inherently digital, into the physical world.
Hosting six events in 2018, the strategy behind the events was finding ways to capitalize on the biggest sports moments of the year.
Their latest event, while somewhat in the “pop-up” side of things, is an opportunity for fans as well as influencers to connect in real life over their love of Kicks.
Finding success with the events they hosted in 2018, Ed Romaine, B/R’s Chief Brand Officer, sees events going forward for the publisher falling into two separate categories: editorial driven and partner-driven.
Their last event of the year, B/R Kicks x The Drop Up, is an example of what an editorial-driven event for the brand looks like.
Spun out of the event, B/R will launch “The Pre Heat” and “Sneaker Shock,” two new content editorial franchises that will be connected to this celebration with seamless values of giving fans experiences that they normally wouldn’t get the opportunity to get their hands on.
“Our tentpole franchise events like this will remain in 2019, but I think you will see us do more advertiser-driven events that are based on in-store retail opportunities,” said Romaine.
Executing opportunities like this are what Romaine credits to B/R being able to see revenue growth up over 44 percent year over year. It’s also part of how media companies like B/R are finding ways to diversify their revenue in an age of digital ad dollars being dominated by the likes of Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
“All content providers now are tasked with being a solution center for people who invest in them. Whether it is through media agencies or through client direct buys. Being a 360-degree solution for partners like Levi’s has helped us win business that we probably wouldn’t have been able to win.”
What exactly did B/R do this year to grow its revenue in new ways outside of events? Romaine points to multiple key initiatives, including thought-leadership capabilities and a newly established influencer marketing platform called “B/R Squad.”
Through the thought leadership platform, B/R has worked with different companies and brands in the industry build custom solutions to pressing research or industry questions that they are having trouble answering.
All of the new initiatives come down to one thing according to Romaine: staying competitive.
“I think if any content provider wants to be competitive, then they need to have a comprehensive set of solutions that they have in the marketplace that people can tap into.”
With the “Drop Up” and events like it going into the future, Romaine is most excited about B/R being able to build out opportunities that focus more on cultural moments and not just sports moments.
“I’m excited about the ‘Drop Up’ because it’s the second time that we’ve expanded beyond just the sports moment and started focusing in on the journalistic culture moments that we’re creating throughout the calendar year. Where you’ll see an evolution from us or where you’ll see a more comprehensive set of events will actually come more from the editorial vision that we continue to dig into.”
While being a media company in 2018 has its challenges, B/R is an example of what can happen when you are able to leverage the attention that you have on your brand.