Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy purchased the site back for $1 yesterday, according to a filing. Portnoy sold Barstool to PENN Entertainment in a two-part sale — the latter transaction having just closed in February of this year — for $551 million. Now, he gets this site back for just $1.
Needless to say, the outspoken Portnoy was ecstatic, announcing the deal in an “Emergency Press Conference” shared to social media.
“For the first time in a decade, I own 100% of Barstool Sports,” said an excited Portnoy, who is known to fans of the site for his pizza reviews. “Not since the Chernin deal have I been in total control of everything.”
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The latter is a reference to the purchase of a 51% stake in the site by Peter Chernin’s Chernin Media Group in 2016. That deal valued the property at between $10 and $15 million.
Portnoy, who generally goes by “El Presidente,” says both he and PENN “underestimated just how tough it is for myself and Barstool to operate in a regulated world.”
“It was one step forward, two steps back,” he said. “We got denied licenses because of me. You name it.”
For the uninitiated, here is how Portnoy was described by the New York Times last year:
Mr. Portnoy, 45, rose to fame by capitalizing on misogyny and other offensive behavior. He once said that some women “kind of deserve to be raped.” He wouldn’t remove photos showing a toddler’s penis from his blog until police showed up at his door. He made what he acknowledged were racist statements, including using the N-word repeatedly. He outed women who accused him of sexual misconduct, threatened to fire employees engaged in unionizing and repeatedly incited attacks on his critics.
Now, Portnoy says, the site will return to its roots.
“It’s back to the pirate ship…for the first time in forever we don’t have to watch what we say, what we do. And, by the way, I am NEVER going to sell Barstool Sports. I’ll hold it ’til I die.”
PENN Entertainment didn’t exactly get the short and of the stick, however. While the company said in its filing that it expects to record a loss of between $800 million and $850 million because of Barstool, PENN, which bills itself as “a leading provider of integrated entertainment, sports content and casino gaming experiences in North America,” announced its own whopper of a deal just before Portnoy held his press conference.
It announced it will rebrand its current sportsbook and relaunch as ESPN Bet this fall. It will do so in the 16 legalized betting states where PENN Entertainment is licensed. The rebrand includes the mobile app, website, and mobile website.
The new entity will become ESPN’s exclusive sportsbook, and PENN Entertainment will receive odds attribution, promotional services inclusive of digital product integrations, traditional media and content integrations and ESPN talent access.
For perspective, another strong sports brand, the NFL, in 2021 announced five-year sports gambling agreements with DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars that are worth just under $1 billion.
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