Barstool Sports Business Model | How Does Barstool Make Money?

Barstool Sports, formerly known as Barstool, is an American online media company focusing on pop culture and sports. David Portnoy founded the publication in 2003 as a print journal serving the greater Boston area. 

Barstool Sports makes money from various sources, including podcasting, video and display advertising, wagering, subscriptions, pay-per-view, and online commerce.

This article will learn about Barstool Sports Business Model and How does Barstool works and makes money!

What is Barstool Sports?

Barstool Sports is a digital media firm focused on sports and pop culture. Barstool Sports produces audio, video, and text content on its website.

Barstool Sports earns money from display advertisement, video advertising, podcast, subscriptions, eCommerce sales, betting, and pay-per-view events.

Barstool Sports Business Model

Barstool was founded in 2003 and has since become one of the largest digital media companies in the U.S. Barstool content is accessed by approximately 66 million monthly users.

New York-based Barstool Sports is an online digital media company that publishes original content online.

Barstool has become one of the world’s most popular media brands thanks to its unique blend of humor, sports, and authenticity.

What Does Barstool Sports Do?

A wide variety of products and activities are part of the Barstool brand. The idea behind all of them is the same: to attract attention.

How does it work? Authentic content consistently.

The best content leads to engagement, which results in more viewers who become followers.

Barstool is a company that is primarily active on social media and the internet.

Written articles, videos, and podcasts are the main content they create.

The company has a mobile app, a SiriusXM radio channel, a digital store, a sportsbook, and a fundraising tool that helps small businesses across the country.

The company also participates in various partnerships and has covered a few sporting events in the past.

How Does Barstool Sports Work?

Barstool Sports network produces digital media content about sports and current events.

Barstool has launched several other brands under the company’s guidance. Several examples include Call Her Daddy, Pardon My Take and Penn.

Barstool began as a newspaper in 2003 when its founder, Dave Portnoy, wanted to work in the sports betting industry but was turned down.

Blog posts, videos, podcasts, or even simply pictures of attractive women are among the formats used for delivering content.

The company can be found on almost every platform imaginable. Tik Tok, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, and a slew of other apps are among them.

Furthermore, Barstool has created its mobile and tablet application, which is compatible with Android and iOS devices.

After that, you can express your support for Barstool by ordering Barstool-branded apparel and merchandise.

Barstool Sportsbook, an app that lets fans bet on sports in states where online gambling is legal, was recently launched by the company.

Every month, more than 8 million people visit Barstool’s website. Every month, the company attracts more than 66 million unique users.

How Does Barstool Sports Make Money?

Barstool Sports earns money through display advertisement, video advertising and podcasts, betting, eCommerce sales, pay-per-view events, and subscriptions.

Let us understand the revenue model of Barstool Sports in detail:

Display Advertising

A Barstool website also contains display advertisements. Although many users use ad blockers, this shouldn’t be a significant source of revenue for the company.

Display ads, which is one reason you’re using an ad-blocking program, are ads that appear throughout your website.

Barstool Sports Business Model

You may find display advertising at the top of the page, in the sidebars to the left and right, in the footer, and even throughout the content.

Each time a user sees an ad, which is referred to as an impression, a small fee is charged.

Video Advertising

You can also view Barstool video content on a wide variety of devices and platforms.

These videos usually contain advertisements, and the company gets paid per impression it generates.

YouTube, Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, and other platforms are among the media on which Barstool creates video content.

Videos are monetized through advertising that appears at the beginning or in the middle of them. It is also known as the pre-roll or mid-roll.

Barstool then gets paid for every advertisement a user views. Barstool Sports receives more money when more people watch videos, regardless of the advertising rates on each platform.

Podcast Advertising

Barstool’s primary revenue source is advertising on its podcasts. A typical episode usually begins with an advertisement, then middles it, and ends with one.

The company and its creators then receive a fixed fee from advertisers. There are a few obligations for podcasters, such as ensuring that the ad is of a certain length and reading particular sales copy.

Barstool makes more money by charging an advertiser more money for each podcast listener it can gather.

Barstool Sports Business Model

According to the US News and World Report, Barstool’s podcasts rank third behind only NPR  and The New York Times.

The company’s most popular podcasts include Pardon My Take (the company’s first significant podcasting success), Call Her Daddy, Spittin’ Chiclets, etc.

The podcast revenue of Barstool was more than $15 million in 2018, according to Digiday. A more recent set of figures is not available. 

The income of Barstool Sports from podcasts has, however, increased considerably since then.

Subscriptions Revenue

A new premium subscription service, Barstool Gold, launched in December 2018. A  subscription gives fans access to exclusive content. Although most of the content is now free, most of it is still accessible.

Barstool sold over 30,000 subscriptions within a year of its launch. It costs $50 per year for a two-year subscription and $100 per year for a two-year subscription.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have both implemented similar offerings in recent years.

Barstool Gold has been made accessible to all users due to the Coronavirus pandemic.


The Barstool sportsbook app came out in September 2020. Users from legal gambling states can place bets through the app.

A Supreme Court decision in 2018 legalized sports betting and gambling in general in states.

Bookmakers make money when people lose their bets, as does Barstool like any other traditional bookmaker. The use of vigorish (also known as vig, juice, margin, or overground) is another technique used by Barstool.

The vigorish is essentially a commission charged for placing the wager. Bookmakers often exhibit it in the odds they offer. Barstool can (in all likelihood) pocket more money by providing less favorable odds.

The company reserves the right to limit the number and amount of executable bets that an individual can make.

ECommerce Sales

You can support Barstool (also known as Stoolies) by purchasing merchandise from the company’s website.

There are hundreds of items available at Barstool, most of which are clothing (such as t-shirts and hoodies).

Barstool’s products are based mainly on messaging from its shows. Call Her Daddy and Pardon My Take merchandise are among the best-sellers.

Pay Per View Events

Barstool Sports first entered the pay-per-view boxing market in November 2017. The Rough N’ Rowdy events often feature amateur boxers engaged in fights.

The content is only accessible to paying fans. It costs $19.99 to attend the one-time event. Barstool earned more than $550,000 from a single event in 2018.

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Success Story of Barstool Sports

Barstool Sports was founded by Dave Portnoy in 2003 and has its headquarter in New York. Portnoy was always good at sports as a kid.

A shoulder injury ended his dream of playing Division III baseball. He played baseball and football in high school.

He attended Michigan University after completing high school to obtain a degree in education.

A lack of foreign language credits ultimately led to his denial of admission to the university where he wished to study business.

He later returned to the city, where he worked as a sales representative for a local IT company after college.

His desire to start a business soon overtook him. He experimented with concepts, such as a scouting platform to find underreported athletes looking for college scholarships.

The same year, Portnoy began playing poker for fun.

He became so obsessed that he flew to Las Vegas in search of a marketing job at an offshore casino (which he was denied right away). 

Portnoy realized there were few publications covering topics related to sports betting.

He had grand plans to start a local newspaper devoted solely to the gambling industry. 

The first issue of Barstool Sports was published in August 2003. Barstool Sports was initially only available through its newspaper publications. 

He would hand it out in person outside of Boston subway stations.

The website was launched shortly afterward, in December 2003. Portnoy and his editorial staff gradually expanded the site to include commentary on men’s issues and a gallery of scantily clad women.

A New York fan asked Portnoy to redesign the website and make it more accessible for the general public in 2007. 

The company began expanding to other cities as well at the same time, including Chicago and Philadelphia.

The widespread use of social media platforms was another major factor. A frequent tweeter, Portnoy used this as an opportunity to make often controversial statements on his Twitter account (which, in particular, became a favorite of his).

It was primarily spent doubling down on the brand’s winning formula during the early 2010s. 

Portnoy had many conflicts, including posting a naked picture of Tom Brady’s son on social media and normalizing rape culture.

Portnoy and his team often caught media trends before they went into the public domain. Barstool was a pioneer in embracing podcasting after learning how to utilize social media.

Portnoy would just hire ordinary people with excellent talent and train them to become podcast hosts. 

‘Pardon My Take’ has become one of the most popular sports podcasts in the United States.

Although Portnoy and his team had experience in the media and structure, taking the next step and joining the mainstream zeitgeist required a long process. 

The Chernin Group acquired the majority stake in Barstool in January 2016.

Portnoy and Barstool retained their editorial independence, even though Chernin became the majority shareholder. A few months after that, Erika Nardini was hired as Barstool’s new CEO.

Nardini worked for Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and other media and technology companies for decades. 

Barstool introduced many new products, including Barstool Gold and pay-per-view boxing events, under her leadership.

It remained the company that captured the interest of the general public. This article does not have the space to discuss all the controversies surrounding this book, so here are a few:

  • A comedian’s content was stolen by Barstool in December 2018, and she was not adequately acknowledged.
  • Portnoy threatened Barstool workers who attempted to unionize on Twitter in August 2019 (a highly illegitimate activity).
  • An employer could prevent a female employee from reporting racism, nudity, or profanity in her contract.
  • A Barstool video released earlier this year contained Portnoy repeatedly singing the N-word.
  • “Cervix Killer,” an intern at Barstool, sent several explicit texts to a female coworker.

… The list goes on and on. Furthermore, Portnoy organized his supporters to attack those who called him out on the actions mentioned above. 

It doesn’t matter what he or his company does, and Barstool continues to grow.

The Pink Whitney, which Barstool launched in September 2019, demonstrated the devoted fanbase of the pink lemonade vodka. 

Spittin’ Chiclets, a podcast presented by former NHL defenseman Ryan Whitney, gave rise to the product’s concept and name.

Whitney once told a guest on his podcast that he enjoys drinking pink lemonade mixed with vodka (a podcast sponsor). 

According to Barstool, over one million units of Pink Whitney were sold within six weeks of its release.

A Delaware-based casino and racetrack company, Penn National Gaming, has agreed to acquire the majority interest in Chernin’s Barstool interests in January 2020. 

As part of the $450 million deal, Penn received a 50 percent ownership stake in Barstool.

Part of Penn’s decision to acquire Barstool was due to its return to its gambling roots. 

Barstool launched Barstool Bets in September 2019, which allows users to gather and analyze betting-related data.

Penn has taken the idea one step further and turned Barstool into a full-fledged betting site that competes with DraftKings and FanDuel. 

Barstool Sportsbook is an app it introduced in September of 2020, and it became the most downloaded app in the US App Store immediately.

Portnoy did make some constructive contributions to society despite his shenanigans.

Barstool Sports Business Model

Barstool launched One Bite in 2018, an app in which Portnoy reviews local pizza joints to increase their exposure. One Bite doesn’t charge restaurant owners for visibility, unlike Yelp.

A COVID-19 relief fund, to be called The Barstool Fund, will be created by Powell by the end of 2020. 

The event was designed to raise funds for local businesses that the pandemic had hit. The Barstool Fund managed to generate more than $30 million in just a few weeks.

The company’s headquarters in New York now employs more than 500 people after relocating from Boston in 2016.

What is the Funding and Valuation of Barstool Sports?

Barstool Sports has secured venture capital funding totaling $178 million over two rounds, according to Crunchbase.

Barstool Sports was valued at $450 million when Penn National Gaming purchased it in 2008.

What is the Revenue of Barstool Sports?

As a private company, Barstool Sports is not required to reveal its revenue. However, according to a report by Review Journal, Barstool earns around $80 million to $130 million annually. 

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Key Takeaways from Barstool Sports Business Model

Media and lifestyle brand Barstool Sports provides original content through sports and comedy and has built up a passionate and loyal fan base over the last ten years. 

David Portnoy founded a company based in the United States to build a business based on his passion for sports and gambling.

The brand and customer base of Barstool has enabled Barstool to become innovative and create new revenue streams. 

Barstool Sports earns money via podcasts, videos, and advertising, with the majority coming from advertising.

Sports brand Barstool has more than 30 million followers on social media and is the biggest audience, reach, and engagement brand on the platform.

They continue to dominate social media with their content. Still, in many ways, I think that their capability to produce quality content and convert it into revenue constantly says volumes about their quality.

Additionally, Barstool sells branded items and offers members access to premium content. Furthermore, the company runs amateur boxing leagues to charge a fee to fans on a pay-per-view basis.

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