Penn Entertainment Completes Acquisition of Barstool Sports

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Penn Entertainment acquired Barstool Sports on Friday, purchasing the remaining 64% of interest in the sports media, entertainment, and betting company for approximately $388 million. Penn Entertainment previously acquired a 36% stake in Barstool Sports in February 2020.

The acquisition comes just in time for the expected March 10 launch of mobile sports betting in Massachusetts. Barstool Sportsbook has market access in Mass via Penn-operated Plainridge Park Casino.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Barstool Sports fully into the PENN Entertainment family,” Penn Entertainment CEO and President, Jay Snowden said in a press release. “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.”

Penn Entertainment, rebranded last year from Penn National Gaming, paid $163 million for its initial investment in Barstool Sports in 2020. Barstool Sportsbook subsequently launched a sports betting app that is now live in 15 states.

Penn Entertainment is a leading provider of sports content and casino gaming experiences. Penn operates 43 properties in 20 states, mobile sports betting in 16 jurisdictions, and iCasinos in five jurisdictions. Penn’s brands include Hollywood Casino, L’Auberge, theScore Bet Sportsbook in addition to Barstool.

Barstool Sports Poised for Mass Sports Betting Launch

Penn Entertainment’s multimillion-dollar acquisition is a fitting celebration for Barstool Sports’ 20th anniversary. The company started in 2003 as a free sports and gambling newspaper. It has since evolved into a network of over 100 shows hosted by more than 90 personalities. Barstool Sports claims over 200 million social media followers and offers podcasts, video, live events, and pay-per-view, and was recently green-lighted to apply for a mobile sports betting app in Massachusetts.

“Barstool Sports is bigger than ever and has become more than I ever dreamed of,” said Dave Portnoy, Founder of Barstool Sports. “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.”

barstool david portnoy
Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

“This is a huge moment for Barstool Sports that was made possible by a lot of people and a lot of grit,” said Erika Ayers, CEO of Barstool Sports. “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.”

A Bright Future

Dave Portnoy may be celebrating his company’s sale in the Sunshine State. When asked about the anticipated acquisition back in August, Portney said,

“First thing I gotta do, is I got to make sure I get the hell out of New York, right?” Portnoy said. “And get down to Florida and establish some residency, so the government can’t steal all my money.”

Penn Entertainment has a sunny disposition as well. The company noted that its partnership with Barstool Sports has allowed Penn to leverage Barstool’s well-known brand and personalities into an omnichannel strategy. Penn expects to, “continue to innovate and collaborate, including across Barstool’s sports bar footprint, to deliver compelling integrated gaming and entertainment experiences.”

Penn recently appeared at a Ohio gambling commission meeting and accepted a $250,000 fine for alleged advertising violations in the state by Barstool Sports. This clears the way for Barstool to continue promoting mobile sports betting in Ohio.

About the Author
Adam Carter

Adam Carter

Legislative Writer
Adam Carter is a legislative writer at Gaming Today and has been published since 2017. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida, a Master of Arts in English from Indiana University, and a Juris Doctor from Notre Dame Law. Carter also writes for Great.com and currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he practices as an attorney and bemoans the local sports teams. His writing is also available in places such as Florida English Journal, The Rumpus, and Penumbra.

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