Barstool Sports is now fully owned by casino operator and entertainment company Penn Entertainment, which Friday completed its previously announced acquisition of the property. Penn said it paid $388 million for the 64% stake in Barstool did not already own.
In January 2020, Penn Entertainment, then known as Penn National Gaming, paid $163 million for a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, with previous owner the Chernin Group left with the same percentage stake. Barstool founder Dave Portnoy had sold majority control of Barstool to Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group in 2016. That initial agreement included a path for Penn to establish full control and ownership of Barstool Sports.
Founded in 2003 as a sports and gambling blog by Portnoy, Barstool has “evolved into a leading digital player in sports, lifestyle and entertainment,” according to the companies. Barstool Sports and Portnoy also have been embroiled in controversies over past sexist and racist content on the website.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Barstool Sports fully into the Penn Entertainment family,” Penn Entertainment CEO and president Jay Snowden said 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.”
Portnoy said in a statement: “Barstool Sports is bigger than ever and has become more than I ever dreamed of. 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.”
In the three years since Penn first invested in the company, Barstool Sports says it has grown its audience 194% and currently has more than 200 million followers across platforms. Barstool produces and distributes more than 100 shows spanning podcasts, video, social media, live events and pay-per-view, and runs a commerce business. In addition, with Penn, it has launched the Barstool Sportsbook online betting platform, currently live in 15 states.
In last week’s episode of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast, Barstool CEO Erika Ayers said, “The vision of what Penn wants and the vision that Dave and I had for the business are really very closely aligned.”
“The way we’ve talked about sports betting is to make it very conversational, and to really make sports betting an organic, authentic and integrated part of what we do,” Ayers said on the podcast.
Penn Entertainment operates 43 casino and gaming properties in 20 states, as well as online sports betting in 16 jurisdictions and iCasino in five jurisdictions under a portfolio of brands including Hollywood Casino, L’Auberge, Barstool Sportsbook, and theScore Bet Sportsbook and Casino.