Forty Under 40: Dave Finocchio
Company: Bleacher Report / Turner Sports
Title: Founder, GM, Bleacher Report
Where born: Mountain View, Calif.
Education: University of Notre Dame (B.A., economics, history)
Career background: Two years private equity during two years part-time Bleacher Report; seven years full-time Bleacher Report
Family: Wife, Lauren
Favorite apps: Team Stream, Twitter, OpenTable, Kindle, Kayak, Trulia, Yahoo Fantasy Sports.
Favorite way to unwind: Going on a long run somewhere beautiful.
Guilty pleasure: Electro swing.
Worst habit: Compulsive extended-forecast weather checking. Same thing, but around searching for new British TV shows.
Groups supported: My college and high school.
I have a fear of … : Being bored.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Raised money for the first time with my co-founders. We were 24. The exhilaration and knowing that our dream was actually going to come to life: I remember how I felt when we stopped at a gas station right after we found out. How incredibly fortunate we’ve been.
2014 will be a good year if … : Bleacher Report’s audience grows by 70 percent again (to match 2013’s performance).
For years, the open-source sports journalism destination was the butt of many jokes within the digital sports landscape. A few high-profile missteps in the company’s early days certainly didn’t help, and the site spent its first five years widely mocked as low-rent Internet click bait.
But on the heels of Turner Sports’ 2012 deal to purchase Bleacher Report (for an estimated $175 million), Finocchio has overseen a transformation of the site both in terms of internal operation and external reputation. Bleacher Report’s companion mobile application, Team Stream, is among the most widely downloaded of any such offering in the industry. Video content has grown significantly. The site has attracted veteran, established reporting talent from other mainstream outlets, including Howard Beck, Mike Freeman and Ric Bucher. Editorial standards have continued to be tightened, and users have responded, pushing the Turner Sports/Bleacher Report roll-up to as high as third in monthly comScore sports traffic rankings.
“The conversation around us has totally changed,” Finocchio said. “Before, you heard a lot of jokes at our expense, but you don’t really hear that anymore. We’ve definitely become more respected.”
After making sizable gains around coverage of football and particularly basketball, Finocchio
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.
“MLB and soccer, particularly with the World Cup coming up, are big areas of focus for us this year,” he said. “We’ve caught people’s attention, and we believe we can attract the same kind of high-level talent in these areas that we have elsewhere.”
— Eric Fisher