Three years after acquiring its first stake in Barstool Sports, Penn Entertainment’s acquisition of the digital media and sports betting company is complete.
The Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based gaming operator Friday announced it had finalized the acquisition for approximately $388 million. Penn first bought a stake in the sports, lifestyle and entertainment media brand in February 2020.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Barstool Sports fully into the Penn Entertainment family,” said Penn Entertainment CEO and President, Jay Snowden in a statement. “Barstool is a proven, powerful media brand with an authentic voice and vast, loyal audience that provides us with a strong top of funnel for new customer acquisition and organic cross-selling opportunities across our growing interactive division. 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.
“Further, the Barstool Sportsbook will greatly benefit from the upcoming migration to our proprietary technology stack, a move that will significantly enhance the overall product offering and deliver meaningful upside.”
During Penn Entertainment’s 2022 fourth-quarter investor’s call Feb. 2, Snowden touted the completion of the Barstool deal as linchpin to the operator’s entrée into the Massachusetts sports betting market.
“We have high expectations for sports betting in Massachusetts for obvious reasons,” Snowden said during the investors’ call. “Barstool was founded there and has a huge following.”
Barstool Sports, founded by Dave Portnoy, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The company creates content distributed on platforms including podcasts, video, social, live events, pay-per-view and subscription.
Since Penn’s first investment in Barstool the company has:
- Grown its audience 194% and recorded total podcast downloads of 1.6B;
- Delivered over 875.000 videos across social media channels totaling over 128 billion video views;
- Increased ad sales by 160%;
- Sold over 5 million units, including apparel, licensed products and accessories.
“Barstool Sports is bigger than ever and has become more than I ever dreamed of,” Portnoy said. “I’m very thankful to the Barstool team and Stoolies who have been along for the ride. I’m looking forward to this next chapter with Penn.”
“This is a huge moment for Barstool Sports that was made possible by a lot of people and a lot of grit,” said Barstool Sports CEO Erika Ayers. “Our focus has always been to create relevant and entertaining content for our fans and to deliver strong results for our partners. It’s exciting to have that vision recognized and to be able to put it to work inside of Penn. We have the best fan base on the planet, and we look forward to doing even more for them with Penn’s support.”
Penn was granted a license to operate the Barstool Sportsbook platform in Massachusetts in January 2023. It operates a brick-and-mortar Barstool Sportsbook at the Plainridge Casino that was heavily scrutinized by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission before the license was approved.
A New York Times story in November 2020 stated that Portnoy “rose to fame by capitalizing on misogyny and other offensive behavior.”
Portnoy, is subsequent interviews including one with the New York Post, called the times story “a hit piece.”