David Portnoy founded digital media company Barstool Sports 20 years ago. It started out as a free newspaper, the first issue being handed out on the streets of Boston in December 2003. Aimed at young, male sports enthusiasts, the four-page printed publication offered readers a brash, irreverent take on sports, gambling, and fantasy football.

Over the next few years, the brand grew, gaining a popular following, eventually relaunched as an online blog in 2007, the company relocating to Manhattan, while distribution of the print version was expanded to numerous US cities. With an ever-increasing audience (known as ‘Stoolies’), it was only a matter of time before Barstool Sports began to get noticed by investors. In January 2016, it was announced that Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group had purchased a 51% controlling stake in the company.

Portnoy sold off another chuck of Barstool Sports in February 2020 to PENN Entertainment, who acquired a 36% stake, laying out a reported $163 million in cash and stock. Included in the deal was an option to increase their stake to 50% in the next three years, and effectively take control of the entire company. In February of this year, PENN exercised that option, buying the remaining interest in Barstool for an additional $388 million. Portnoy was delighted, and said of the deal: “Barstool Sports is bigger than ever and has become more than I ever dreamed of. I’m very thankful to the Barstool team and Stoolies who have been along for the ride. I’m looking forward to this next chapter with PENN.”

However, the situation took a radical and unexpected twist just six months down the lone when Portnoy bought back his sports media company from PENN Entertainment in exchange for “non-compete and other restrictive covenants” – reportedly, a nominal fee of just $1. “PENN Entertainment and Barstool Sports have gone their separate ways. As of this moment – as you are watching this video – I have purchased back Barstool Sports from PENN,” Portnoy explained in a video posted on X.

PENN meanwhile announced it was divesting from Barstool and rebranding as ESPN Bet, following a new alliance agreement with the Sports Programming Network.

How much is David Portnoy worth?

David Portnoy has a net worth of$100 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

What is Barstool Sports?

Barstool Sports is one of the most influential sports, lifestyle and entertainment media brands on the internet. With a rich 20-year history, Barstool creates innovative, comedic content with massive distribution on multiple platforms, including podcasts, video, social, live events, pay-per-view and subscription. To date, the brand has one of the most highly coveted, fiercely loyal, and incredibly engaged audiences, reaching over 200M fans across social and rapidly growing. Since the beginning Barstool Sports has always been about giving back to the community, raising millions of dollars for those in immediate need. The Barstool Fund, launched in the early days of the pandemic to assist small businesses who were impacted, raised over $40M.

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Kay Adams