Barstool Sports has been a big name in the sports industry for a few years now. Their two primary investors are The Chernin Group and Penn National Gaming. With everyone getting into the sports betting industry, it is only fitting for Barstool to join the gambling industry and capture a unique target demographic.
Cities like Philadelphia and Chicago may be getting a lot of revenue in the near future as Barstool Sports-branded sports bars may become reality. Penn National Gaming bought a 36 percent stake in the Barstool Sports company a year ago. However, the next business venture of Barstool may be quite surprising and interesting for many fans.
Barstool Sports in Serious Talks with MLB
Baseball has a big step in the betting industry as a few stadiums have sportsbooks in the stadium. Fans no longer have to log on to offshore or a local book to place a bet on the game they are attending. This would be a great opportunity for Barstool Sports as more stadiums will be implementing sportsbooks in or near the stadiums as more states legalize sports betting.
Major League Baseball and Barstool Sports are in significant talks to start broadcasting midweek MLB games online. According to the NY Post, there is a 50:50 chance that both sides will come to an agreement.
The negotiations are most likely revolving around the aspect of in-game also known as live betting. The founder, Dave Portnoy, announced that his company acquired the naming and broadcasting rights for the Arizona Bowl.
He hinted that he was in talks with one of the four major sports networks. “Do you know we’re talking with major leagues? When I say major leagues, like the four major sports…Ever since we announced the Arizona Bowl, major leagues are like, ‘We can give you the rights. We can give you the rights to call one of the major four leagues games.’ Not gonna say which one. We’re looking at it.”
Baseball has had a tough time with the ratings recently as the All-Star game in Colorado last month still had low ratings which was up one percent from the all-time lows in 2019. Major League Baseball has had a tough time attracting the younger demographic to go to games and tune in even with the influx of young talent like Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr., Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani etc.
NEWS: MLB & Barstool Sports in significant talks to broadcast games, The Post has learned.https://t.co/vdvjOQ5Kkv
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) August 9, 2021
With a potential partnership in the works, this would instantly attract the younger fans to tune as that is basically Barstool’s audience. However, if this partnership goes through to the next stage will the positives outweigh the drawbacks?
What is the Opportunity Cost for the MLB?
As a baseball fan myself, I have not been a fan of some of the rule changes Rob Manfred has made over the years like the “ghost runner” on second base in extras, and the rule where a relief pitcher must pitch to three batters.
Now, the MLB may look to implement a 14-team playoff field during the collective bargaining negotiations this off-season. This would imply that more teams will hold onto their prospects or other assets come the next trade deadline.
With a potential deal with Barstool Sports, getting younger fans to tune into games or going to games would be much easier as viewership and attendance have noticeably dropped over the years. However, teaming up with the controversial company could hurt MLB’s reputation in the long run.
Outside of Barstool, Dave Portnoy has been dealing with a few allegations that would seriously damage baseball’s reputation on top of what is going on with the league’s crackdown on foreign substance has looked like a circus act at times. If the deal goes through and more terrible things start popping up, the viewership and attendance may go down even more to a point of no return.
Is the possible backlash and uncertainty worth it for Major League Baseball to pursue a deal?