The Freaking Deal With All The Oakland Raiders Stories On Bleacher Report
Bleacher Report writer Jeremy Scott (who I’ve written about before) wrote a insightful and hilarious article yesterday entitled, “What Is The Freaking Deal With All The Oakland Raiders Stories On Bleacher Report??”
In his piece, Jeremy points out that articles about the Oakland Raiders tend to always dominate the”Most Popular” list on Bleacher Report—seemingly without exception. Jeremy then goes on to put forth a few theories about why that is.
Some of his theories:
Tech-head Silicon Valley Raiders fans are early adopters of the Bleacher Report train and can out-muscle the less sophisticated fanbases.
An all-out conspiracy—due to the fact that the team behind B/R are big Raiders fans themselves (for the record, not true…)
There are just more Raiders fans online and on Bleacher Report than there are fans of other teams.
Raiders fans have a MoveOn.org-style grass roots online organization that is just way more successful at getting the word out.
Quite a few more people chimed in with additional theories, most prominently that it was due to a Bleacher Report-wide West Coast bias (coming from the East Coast and Mid-westerners) or that it was just because the Raiders are so awesome (coming from the Raiders fans).
Well, I can officially strike down the West Coast bias theory as well as the Raider fan conspiracy. Bleacher Report is located in San Francisco—and we’re pretty much all 49ers fans (although we do have one Cowboy fan). We’re as thrown for a loop as everyone else that the Raiders have achieved such domination of the “Most Popular” list.
What it really comes down to, though, is a great example of a truly energized fan base. The existence of the “Raider Nation” is no secret to anyone familiar with the NFL. Raiders fans may be most highly concentrated in Oakland and Southern California, but the appeal of the franchise is worldwide, and their fans are some of the most passionate out there.
And the Raider Nation doesn’t just manifest itself in the physical world. The fervor of Raiders fans is just as strong—if not stronger—online.
Raiders fans are an extremely motivated bunch when it comes to finding the best content and conversations about their team. When they discovered Bleacher Report, it was just one more tool in their arsenal—and a mighty powerful one at that, I might add.
So how did this juggernaut get started?
Jeremy points out that looking through the archives, the Raiders have fewer articles on the site than other teams like the Cowboys and New York Giants. But every time a Raiders article does get written by guys like Greg Pitsch, Rob Calonge, Jeff Little, or Raider Bob, it gets linked to by a whole host of Raiders sites and forums like Raidernews.com, Raiderfans.net, Raiderskickass.com, Raiderdrive.com, TheRaiderCast.com, and others.
The influx of Raider readers drives the articles up the Most Popular list (which is based on reads alone, with no other weightings in place), leading to the current Raider domination of that list. Some of these new readers stick around and write their own articles, leading to more Raiders analysis, and pretty soon Bleacher Report gets known as the place for fan-expert Raiders content. The whole things snowballs, and all of the sudden the Raiders have blown up in a big way on Bleacher Report.
And seriously, hats off to the Raider Nation for making it happen.
So what’s a fan of any team other than the Raiders to do?
Other than converting to the Silver and Black, if you really want to take back the Most Popular list and see your team in the spotlight, take a page out of the Raider Nation handbook.
Find the fan sites, news sites, forums, and blogs that focus on your team and start getting the word out about your articles. Post on forums, submit to news sites, comment on blogs. Recruit new writers from those sites to join your team’s Bleacher Report community. Choose provocative article topics and stay on top of breaking news with your analysis.
As you start to move the needle with your community, it will start to take on a life of it’s own.
If things go really well, you might even be tapped to become a Community Leader on Bleacher Report. Check back next week for a post from Zander about how to make that leap.