The new era of Barstool Sports is beginning with some major layoffs.
Founder Dave Portnoy reacquired 100% of the company from PENN Entertainment in the wake of its ESPN Bet deal and had made it known that cutbacks would be coming. This week, employees have been discussing the moves, with some announcing their termination on social media.
The number of employees impacted will reportedly represent almost 25% of Barstool’s workforce, according to the New York Post. Barstool had added around 300 employees since PENN’s original investment in 2019 and recently counted a staff of 430.
PENN’s $500 million-plus acquisition of Barstool was fully completed earlier this year — after which the controversial media brand was sold back to Portnoy for a token $1. For the first six months of 2023, Barstool had a net loss of $16.1 million, according to PENN’s recent SEC filing.
Now, Portnoy — at one time uncertain to be a part of Barstool’s long-term future — is tasked with making the company he founded in 2003 profitable again. In the aftermath of the PENN-ESPN deal, Barstool CEO Erika Ayers has stressed a renewed focus on content production.
The layoffs come as Barstool is opening a new office in Chicago — the new home of the popular “Pardon My Take” podcast.
Costs to build the 40,000-square-foot space are still unknown, but it will include a basketball court, content recording studios, and a golf simulator.