Dave Portnoy: ESPN Rejection Shaped Future Of Barstool
“You can do whatever you want at Barstool. Sink or swim. The internet weeds it out.”
Sometimes, in life, certain things may not happen the way people want them to, but it may end up being all for the better in the end. For Dave Portnoy, the president and founder of Barstool Sports, that was the case back in 2017 when it appeared that the Pardon My Take podcast was going to move to ESPN as a show called Barstool Van Talk.
On Friday, Portnoy was a guest on The Dan Dakich Show podcast and he told Dakich that the deal not working out with ESPN worked out for Barstool and defined the company moving forward.
“It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to us,” Portnoy said. “Barstool was at an interesting point. If they made a big offer, we wouldn’t have been able to match it. It drove Dan back to Barstool fully and it really kind of galvanized us vs. the world. It plays to our advantage.”
Portnoy went deeper into what exactly happened that cause the partnership to fail. To the surprise of no one, he did mention Sam Ponder. He showed her begrudging respect for the way she put herself in the center of undoing a deal that the network and Barstool had been working on for over a year.
“I was always a little uncomfortable with the deal because I thought ESPN wanted to test drive Dan and PFT. We have the show and then, I had made fun of Sam Ponder 3 years beforehand on the College Football show. She had her kid on and I said in graphic language, which I wish I didn’t use, nobody is tuning in to see a little kid. You are a very attractive woman. Young guys want to see you. Get the kid off the show.
“She sat on it and I give her credit because that’s something I do. I’m a grudge guy. The day after the show, she’s like this is who we are doing business with and it became a big power struggle with ESPN. They cancelled the show after 1 day.”
Barstool Sports aggressively touts its “us vs. the world mentality.” Portnoy told Dakich that “98%” of what is written about the site is easy to dismiss because it is written by people that don’t make an attempt to understand what he and his staff do.
“There’s a group of people who don’t like me. I’m used to it. Somebody said this to me the other day, he people who don’t like me, if I was walking across water, they would say it’s because I can’t swim. We are not for them. Turn the channel off. Don’t pay attention to me. I don’t care.”
During the interview, Portnoy said that he feels Barstool has a distinct advantage over competitors such as ESPN. He isn’t trying to find shows that appeal to certain demographics. Portnoy said he accepts he does not have the answers. He will let the audience determine what is and isn’t a good idea.
“I don’t care what your background is. If you come off a cornfield or whatever, if you make me laugh, if you are talented, I will hire you. I don’t tell them what to do. I don’t come up with the ideas. You can do whatever you want at Barstool. Sink or swim. The internet weeds it out.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Blue Wire Adding Podcasts Cut During SB Nation Downsizing
Blue Wire has announced it is adding three NBA podcasts that were cut during a downsizing by Vox Media that hit SB Nation earlier this year.
Lakers Lounge, hosted by Anthony Irwin, Green With Envy, hosted by Will Weird, Greg Maneikis, and Adam Taylor, and Pod Maverick with Kirk Henderson are all being revived with Blue Wire.
“We’ve built Blue Wire around being able to identify exceptional talent hitting the podcast free agency market,” said Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones. “We were thrilled to act quickly and provide a new home for three standout local NBA podcasts.”
“I’ve known Kevin for years and we’ve often spoken about working together,” Irwin said. “I couldn’t possibly be more excited to add to all the great work Blue Wire has become known for as we finally see years of conversations become a fruitful partnership.”
The former SB Nation programs that follow the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Dallas Mavericks, respectively, were able to negotiate the ownership of their podcasts with Vox, allowing them to bring their former feeds with them to Blue Wire.
The addition of the three podcasts adds to the company’s growing list of NBA shows. Currently, Blue Wire hosts Road Trippin’ with Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, and No Chill with Gilbert Arenas, among others.
Rob Parker Bringing MLBBro.com Podcast To iHeartRadio
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball.”
Rob Parker loves Major League Baseball and he is expanding his reach in the sport. His site MLBBro.com is taking another step forward just weeks after announcing a partnership with the league to provide coverage of minority players from the past and present.
He will add a podcast to the brand’s portfolio. The MLBBro Show Podcast – The Mixtape will join the iHeartRadio podcast lineup. While Parker oversees the brand, the show will be led by MLBbro.com’s Vice President of Operations JR Gamble.
Gamble brings more than two decades of experience covering the league to the show. The first episode drops right after Opening Day on March 31.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball,” said Parker, who has been a Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) member since 1990.
“It’s baseball coverage with hot sauce, loud and proud and in living color. Get on board from day one!”
What Implications Would TikTok Ban Have on Sports Media & Business?
“Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support.”
If TikTok is banned in the United States, a very realistic possibility, the ad market around sports and sports media stands to take a significant hit. Front Office Sports took a look at the companies that used the social video platform to advertise to sports audiences in 2022 and 2023.
Among the advertisers making major investments in TikTok was Degree, whose March Madness advertising campaign includes an ad that is exclusive to TikTok and stars Giannis Antetokounmpo. For the Super Bowl, T-Mobile supplemented its FOX ad buy with a TikTok campaign, while State Farm chose to skip the network broadcast of the game and spend all of its advertising with the digital platform.
It’s not only advertisers. Leagues and networks factor TikTok prominently into reaching younger audiences. The WWE, FIFA and the NBA all saw significant growth in their audiences on the app last year. On top of that, FOX and ESPN both have taken advertising money from TikTok in the past for postseason baseball and college football broadcasts respectively.
Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support. The Biden administration and other lawmakers have voiced concern about the security threat the Chinese government’s involvement with the app poses to Americans and their personal data.
The appeal of TikTok for networks and advertisers is easy to see. Between 2021 and 2022, no social media platform showed more growth for engagement from sports fans. TikTok’s sports audience jumped 65% in that timeframe. Facebook saw 22% growth and for Twitter, it was just 8%.