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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Is Barstool Backing Out of College Sports Events?

  • Barstool Sports has been the sponsor of the Arizona Bowl since 2021.
  • The company was sold back to founder Dave Portnoy in 2023.
Arizona Bowl/X

Since Barstool Sports’ ownership transition from PENN Entertainment back to founder and president Dave Portnoy in August, the company has been evaluating its content strategy and financial future.

Now, the new era may see the sports media brand reverse course on its strategy of sponsoring college sports events—namely the future of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl looks to be up in the air. After Wyoming defeated Toledo 16-15 in this season’s game, Barstool personality Dan “Big Cat” Katz said it was unlikely that the partnership would continue. “Don’t think so unless something drastic changes,” he posted on X. “Was a lot of fun doing it but unless the financials drastically change on doing it that’s probably it.” 

Barstool agreed to a multiyear naming rights deal in 2021, but that year’s edition of the Arizona Bowl was canceled after Boise State withdrew due to COVID-19 issues ahead of the game. Last year’s matchup was streamed on Barstool.tv but the 2023 game was shown on The CW. Barstool personalities provided commentary for both editions. Barstool did not reply to a request by Front Office Sports for comment.

Beyond the Arizona Bowl, the company has also sponsored the Barstool Sports Invitational, a four-team college basketball tournament, for the past two years. After November’s edition, Barstool president Dave Portnoy posted on X: “That last game was the worst sporting event I’ve ever sat through and the end of the Barstool Invitational for good.”

Last summer, Barstool streamed a Korn Ferry Tour golf event that the PGA Tour called a test for a potential “multi-event model” in 2024. There has not been an update on any long-term partnership.

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