In a blockbuster deal that surprised many, Penn Entertainment announced on Tuesday that it is selling Barstool Sports back to its founder, Dave Portnoy. The deal, which is reportedly worth $1.5 billion, also includes a partnership between Penn and ESPN to create a new sportsbook called ESPN Bet.
Portnoy had been critical of Penn Entertainment in recent months, complaining that the company was too restrictive on Barstool’s content. He had also expressed interest in buying back the company, and it appears that he has finally gotten his wish.
“I’m thrilled to have Barstool back,” Portnoy said in a statement. “This is a great day for our employees, our fans, and our partners. We’re going to be able to do things our way again, and I can’t wait to show you what we have in store.”
The deal with ESPN is also a major coup for Portnoy. ESPN is the most popular sports media company in the world, and its partnership with Barstool will give the latter a huge platform to reach new audiences.
“We’re excited to partner with Barstool Sports to create a new sportsbook that will offer fans a unique and engaging experience,” said Scott Hanson, president of ESPN Bets. “Barstool has a loyal and passionate fan base, and we believe this partnership will be a win-win for both companies.”
The sale of Barstool Sports is a major victory for Portnoy, and it will be interesting to see what he does with the company now that he has full control. He has hinted that he plans to expand Barstool’s content offerings and take it even further into the mainstream.
It will also be interesting to see how the partnership with ESPN plays out. ESPN has been criticized for its conservative approach to sports media, and it will be interesting to see how Barstool’s more irreverent content fits in.
Overall, the sale of Barstool Sports is a major development in the sports media landscape. It will be interesting to see how the company changes under Portnoy’s leadership, and how its partnership with ESPN plays out.