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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Barstool Sports Is ‘Losing Millions’

  • Under Penn’s ownership, Barstool had a net loss of $16.1 million for the first six months of 2023.
  • Since Penn's sale, Barstool has laid off some employees.
“I knew before I bought the company back it was losing millions,” Dave Portnoy said.
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Penn Entertainment sold Barstool Sports for $1 back to Dave Portnoy, and he’s now tasked with leading a media company that’s losing millions of dollars.

For the first six months of 2023, Barstool had a net loss of $16.1 million, according to Penn’s Aug. 9 SEC filing. During the same period, Barstool reached $80.9 million in revenue. Since Penn offloaded Barstool as part of its new sports betting deal with ESPN, Barstool has laid off several content employees, including podcast host Will Burge.

“I knew before I bought the company back, it was losing millions,” Portnoy said. “I can get back in control of this thing—it may be rough for a couple months getting things back to where we’re not getting F—ing smoked, but I think I could make this a good place to work.”

Penn originally paid $163 million for a 36% stake in Barstool in 2020 and then bought the remaining 64% of Barstool for $388 million in February. Portnoy’s $1 snag to regain full control of the company came a couple of weeks after he slashed the sale price of his listed Hamptons mansion from $13 million down to $10.5 million. 

Barstool Sportsbook is now being rebranded as ESPN Bet as part of Penn’s licensing agreement with ESPN, which pays the network $2 billion across ten years. Barstool’s current layoffs are impacting employees who worked remotely, said Burge. He joined Barstool as a content creator in February 2022 and is based in Cleveland. 

“Dave bought the company back [and] Barstool’s back to being what it is when it’s at its best—and that’s a reality show. To be part of the reality show, you gotta be in one of the offices,” Burge said. “So obviously, it doesn’t make sense to have a remote employee who is not a part of the main product that Barstool is pushing at this point.”

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