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Portnoy Is Back In Control Of Barstool Sports Brand ‘Until I Die’

  • Barstool founder Dave Portnoy has regained control of the company from PENN Entertainment.
  • Earlier this year, PENN completed it $550 million acquisition of the sports media outlet.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond its wide-ranging impact on the sports betting space, Tuesday’s bombshell ESPN-PENN Entertainment deal also has huge ramifications in sports media — especially for Dave Portnoy, who will regain 100% ownership of Barstool Sports, the company he founded in 2003.

PENN said it sold Barstool back to Portnoy “in exchange for certain non-compete and other restrictive covenants” and has the right to receive 50% of the gross proceeds received by Portnoy “in any subsequent sale or other monetization event of Barstool.” 

From that language, it appears Portnoy is essentially getting back Barstool — sans the betting businesses — for “free,” and has no plans for new investors.

“I am never going to sell Barstool Sports, ever,” Portnoy said in a video that gained six million views on Twitter in just 90 minutes on Tuesday. “I’ll hold it until I die.”

In February, PENN completed its purchase of Barstool for a total of $550 million. At the time, PENN Entertainment CEO and president Jay Snowden said that, “Barstool, combined with theScore’s reach and highly engaged user base, creates a massive digital footprint and ecosystem that will serve to propel Barstool Sportsbook and our uniquely integrated media and gaming business.”

If it was unclear whether Portnoy would be a part of Barstool long-term under PENN’s ownership, that question is now irrelevant. “Everytime I think I’m out, they pull me back in,” Portnoy said. 

Portnoy will emphasize content as Barstool pivots from running sports betting operations.

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