Meet Our Data Nerds: Bleacher Report’s Sam Parnell Talks Data Driven Content

Bleacher Report delivers digital media’s most engaging content experience to sports fans all over the world. The company combines vision with innovation and has thus built the next-generation publishing brand. Known for their data-driven content creation process that merges inputs from writers, editors, and market analysts to meet real-time consumer demand, Bleacher Report brings in a growing monthly audience of more than 80 million unique users.


This week we caught up with Bleacher Report’s CTO, Sam Parnell, and talked about how he and his team are revolutionizing the way sports fans think and talk about their favorite teams and topics. Sam’s Q&A is below.

Q: Your data nerd line is, “Data helps us get news to sports fans faster.” Can you elaborate on that?

We spend every day focused on delivering the best news experience to sports fans. We use data in every part of our business to drive decisions and improve performance. For the product and engineering teams this means building products and tools that work fast and deliver results quickly.

Q: How does your company tackle data organizationally?

Data has been a core part of the company from early on. It’s a shared responsibility that is leveraged by every team.

Q: What kind of “aha” moments have you had analyzing your data?

Many. Throughout the company’s history, data has driven key decisions. Recently, it has resulted in key changes in our approach to social media, and in turn, we have seen tremendous growth. We used data to reshape the content that we create, how we link to it and when we publish it. This has driven a tenfold increase in social traffic.

Q: How have you used those discoveries to improve your business?

Data has fueled a considerable amount of the growth at Bleacher Report. It is used every day to make smart decisions to drive more value for the business. It has also been used to drive new products, drop old ones and get comfortable with cannibalizing our existing business. For example, data drove our decision to invest in mobile apps instead of our highly successful email newsletters. The growth has been phenomenal and the user engagement on the mobile platform is something we could never have achieved using email.

Q: Looking ahead, how do you see data changing the world?

The volume and granularity of data available has already changed the way businesses operate. Whether it’s Facebook or Walmart, data is already being used to shape our experiences as consumers. For sports teams, they are moving into a world where every step taken by players on the field will be tracked, which will allow coaches to make real-time data driven decisions.

What makes you a data nerd? Tell us–just tweet using the #datanerd hashtag. After all, we are all data nerds.

Morgan Flatley is on the customer marketing team at New Relic. Before making the New Relic marketing team her home, she dabbled in PR for startup tech companies. View posts by .

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