Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy said he is “trying to build the most forward-thinking sports gambling company,” as news of alleged significant negotiations with Major League Baseball on having national midweek games on the site’s platforms surfaced.
The discussions, which have started recently, could potentially lead to the creation of a new type of broadcast with a focus on in-game gambling, reports New York Post.
MLB currently has national TV deals with Turner, Fox and ESPN, which will drop regular, non-exclusive Monday and Wednesday games as part of a new contract that begins next year, while Turner will move its regular-season games to Tuesday from Sunday beginning next season. As a result, MLB is believed to be looking for a buyer for the now open inventory.
According to The Post, Barstool is a natural possibility due to its connection with a younger audience and alternative delivery approach, including website, Instagram and Twitter accounts, among others.
In addition, Portnoy’s comment to FOX Business' Varney&Co show Monday on expanding the sports gambling company comes after Penn National Gaming, to which Barstool Sports sold a 36% stake last year, announced an agreement to acquire Score Media & Gaming Inc. for about $2 billion and plans to open sports bars in Philadelphia and Chicago.
"We think we’d reach a new generation of gamblers that will look at sports a little bit differently and it’s becoming accepted everywhere," also said Portnoy. "Every league is starting to accept it and embrace it because there’s money to be made."
Portnoy said that the goal is to merge online sports gambling and sports news and hopes the "new generation" looking to engage in both activities will "come to us."
Score Media operates theScore app, which delivers sports scores, news and betting information to its subscribers, and the acquisition aims at enhancing customer experience and expand the reach of Barstool Sports.
“When we add theScore’s unique integrated media and betting platform and modern, state-of-the-art technology to the massive audience of Barstool Sports and its wildly popular personalities and content, we’ll be creating North America’s leading digital sports content, gaming and technology company,” said Jay Snowden, President and Chief Executive of Penn National on Thursday.
Moreover, Barstool has recently announced its position as title sponsor and broadcaster for college football’s Arizona Bowl, which will now be broadcasted on Barstool’s website, app and social media channels, marking the company’s first foray into acquiring television sports rights.
“This game-changing partnership with Barstool Sports will literally change the landscape of the bowl for years to come, connecting our history of leading-edge innovation that showcases the grand traditions of football to Barstool’s unmatched creative content power and streaming services,” said Kym Adair, executive director of the Arizona Bowl.
It is believed that the opportunity to reach younger audiences, expanding into gambling and featuring alternative broadcasts might be key factors in the potential MLB deal.
Barstool has also cemented its position as a key player in the sports industry by launching its Sportsbook through parent company Penn National in several states, with a favorable user reception.
WE LIVE IN VIRGINIA pic.twitter.com/ie98oCrz4r— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) August 10, 2021
The latest expansion have been Colorado on August 9 and Virginia on August 10, featuring competitive betting odds, daily boosts and promos, two weeks before a new college football season and a month away from the 2021 NFL regular season.