Contact Us

How Dave Portnoy bought back Barstool Sports

Sara Fischer AXIOS
Thought Leader: Sara Fischer
August 8, 2023
Source: AXIOS

ESPN on Tuesday announced a betting joint venture with casino operator PENN Entertainment, which soon will rebrand its Barstool Sportsbook to ESPN Bet.

Why it matters: This is the sports network’s first major gambling deal, and comes after Fox closed down its own sportsbook.

Details: As part of the deal, Penn is selling sports media group Barstool back to founder Dave Portnoy.

What they’re saying: “We underestimated just how tough it is for myself and Barstool to operate in a regulated world,” Portnoy said in a video announcement.

By the numbers: Penn agreed to make $1.5 billion in cash payments over 10 years to ESPN, which also gets granted $500 million of warrants to purchase 31.8 million Penn common shares that vest over the same decade-long period.

The bottom line: ESPN has wanted to get into betting for years, but hasn’t wanted to itself operate a sportsbook, out of fear of editorial conflicts of interest.

Subscribe to the WWSG newsletter.

Check Availability

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Speaker List
Share My List