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Barstool Sports Headed for September Launch

Barstool Sports Headed for September Launch
David Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports - Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images/AFP

The controversial media wing of Penn National Gaming, Barstool Sports has announced that they hope to go live with their much-anticipated sports betting mobile app by September, just in time for kickoff of the 2020-2021 NFL season. It will be the culmination of Penn National’s $163 million 36% investment in the incredibly popular pop culture and media brand.

The Penn National/Barstool Sports alignment should be a boon for Penn National with them providing the massive casino infrastructure and Barstool providing the large and passionate built-in media audience. Jay Snowden, president and chief executive officer of Penn National Gaming recently commented that: “The Barstool brand, loyal audience, and marketing engine will help drive meaningful market share as the product is introduced across our database of 20 million casino customers and Barstool’s audience of over 66 million fans”.

What Barstool brings

Barstool Sports is a media Heavyweight boasting 9.2 million unique listeners each month on its collection of 38 podcasts. For comparison’s sake, ESPN had 6.9 million unique listeners for its roster of sports podcasts. Their overall audience is said to be 66 million and climbing. In 2019, the company reported $100 million in revenue, proving its standing as a player in the sports betting industry.

Barstool Bets site provides sports betting stories and videos, TV shows including Barstool Sports Advisors. The company has done business with some of the top names in the sports betting industry and brings a wealth of experience in their growing “space”. Commenting on the deal with Penn National, Barstool CEO Erika Nardini said, “We will look to continue to make entertainment content, lifestyle content, sports content, comedy content, and then we will integrate Penn National whenever and wherever possible to drive conversion to on-property sports betting”.

Once the app is ready to launch, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and maybe Michigan will go live right away with an eye on other states in the not-too-distant future.

What Penn National brings

Penn National is an international brand with 48 facilities in the US and Canada. Its reach spreads across 19 jurisdictions and the company has prided itself on building a strong full-service betting platform in the states they have a presence, including an all-important mobile platform. “Penn National is the only operator in the U.S. with a large, geographically diversified land-based gaming footprint, a well-known sports brand, a fully aligned marketing partner and a wholly-owned sports betting and iCasino subsidiary,” said Jay Snowden, president and chief executive officer of Penn National Gaming of his brand.

Penn National’s move to become one of the big players in the US sports betting industry came fast and furious. Last year the company signed on to provide betting services in 16 states including ones that hadn’t even legalized yet. They have been aggressive during their time of growth and that strategy is paying off as we head into the re-introduction of a full menu of sports. A reported $730.7 million of cash on its balance sheet doesn’t hurt Penn National’s current standing either.

“Penn National is the largest retail casino operator in the country. That gives us a massive footprint of very big casino establishments to put (Barstool) Sportsbook into,” said Barstool CEO Erika Nardini in a recent interview.

Moving forward

Penn National has to be excited about the future, assuming Barstool’s mobile app is up-and-running by NFL season. The partnership will elevate both brands into the elite class of full-service sports betting companies.

“Everyone at Barstool will be using the Barstool Sportsbook. We’re going to be talking about it all the time online,” Erika Nardini said. “We’re going to have a hand in creating the parlays and thinking about the bets. We’re going to have some fun with it.”

All that seems to be in their way? The COVID factor.