BOSTON - Seventeen years ago, Dave Portnoy founded Barstool Sports, an online blog about sports and entertainment, from the town of Milton, Massachusetts. Since then, it has become one of the biggest names in offbeat sports coverage and a massive player in the Internet content industry. From a website that covered Boston sports almost exclusively to one of the biggest blogs in the world, Barstool has somehow even found a way to attain new heights.
They have done this by selling a 36 percent stake in the company to Penn National Gaming, a casino organization, for a hefty price tag of 163 million dollars, per Vox. According to the deal, Penn will own fifty percent of Barstool after three years, which values the entire purchase at just under half a billion dollars. Portnoy is expected to remain with Barstool, which is going to be retooled (though not overhauled) as a company that is extremely oriented towards gambling. (New apps and Barstool-themed casino events are expected to come soon.)
Barstool has been the subject of a number of deplorable controversies over the years, but perhaps this Penn purchase will result in them calming down their antagonistic nature. Most recently, Portnoy and Barstool were forced to settle with the National Labor Relations Board after Portnoy threatened to terminate the employment of anyone who was in contact with people who wanted to form a union of Barstool writers, podcast producers, and more.
It is the latest step in the odd mirroring of Barstool and another sports and pop culture website, The Ringer. This latter website was formed by Bill Simmons, another Massachusetts native, and members of The Ringer staff formed a union around the same time that Portnoy landed himself in hot water for his threatening tweets. The trajectory similarities do not end there, however, as rumors in the business world point the potential notion that Spotify is in talks to purchase The Ringer, mainly for its massive podcast network. At the current moment, Simmons wants 200 million dollars for The Ringer, but the Barstool acquisition could end up changing some tunes.
The world of blogging is changing apparently and massive sales will set the tone for the months to come.
Image via Flickr/Zach Catanzareti Photo