Penn partners with ESPN, Barstool Sports sold to Dave Portnoy

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By Dan Sears

Dave Portnoy is once again the owner of Barstool Sports.

Penn Entertainment announced Tuesday that it is divesting the company back to Portnoy, who founded Barstool in 2003.

Penn also announced it will be partnering with ESPN to rebrand its existing sportsbooks.

In its release, Penn said it sold “100%” of Barstool to Portnoy “in exchange for certain non-compete and other restrictive covenants” and the “right to receive 50% of the gross proceeds received by David Portnoy in any subsequent sale or other monetization event of Barstool.”

Portnoy sold a majority of Barstool to The Chernin Group in 2016.

Earlier this year, Penn finalized its acquisition of Barstool for a total of $551 million.

In a video posted on Tuesday, Portnoy confirmed he has regained “total control” of Barstool.

“We underestimated just how tough it is for myself and Barstool to operate in a regulatory world where gambling regulators, the New York Times, Business Insider hit pieces f–king with the stock price. Every time we did something it was one step forward two steps back,” Portnoy said.

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Dave Portnoy announced Tuesday he bought back Barstool Sports from Penn.
Dave Portnoy announced Tuesday he bought back Barstool Sports from Penn.
Dave Portnoy

“We got denied licenses because of me. You name it. So the regulated industry probably not the best place for Barstool Sports and the content we make.”

Portnoy called the situation a “win-win” and wished ESPN and Penn the best of luck in their relationship.

“More importantly, for us, for Barstool, for the first time in forever, we don’t have to watch what we say, how we talk, what we do,” Portnoy said. “It’s back to the pirate ship. By the way, I will never sell Barstool Sports [again], ever. I’ll hold it till I die.”

The Post has reached out to Portnoy for comment.

The Barstool Sportsbook section of the casino. At the Hollywood Casino Morgantown
The Barstool Sportsbook section of the casino at the Hollywood Casino Morgantown.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

In the same announcement, Penn said that it is rebranding Barstool Sportsbook as ESPN Bet.

“After meeting with Jay [Snowden, Penn CEO] and the Penn team, it was clear that they were the right long-term strategic partner to build ESPN Bet into a leading U.S. sports betting platform,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement. “We are confident that the combination of our unparalleled audience along with Penn’s operational expertise and state-of-the-art technology provides us with a tremendous opportunity to serve the ever-growing number of consumers interested in betting.”

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In this photo illustration, an ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) logo seen displayed on a tablet.
The new partnership with Penn will see their sportsbooks rebranded as ‘ESPN Bet.’
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Said Snowden: “In connection with the transaction, we are selling Barstool back to founder David Portnoy. Barstool has been a great partner and we are thankful to Dave Portnoy, Erika Ayers, Dan Katz and their team for helping to rapidly scale our digital footprint across 16 jurisdictions in the U.S. and introducing their audience to our retail and digital products. The divestiture allows Barstool to return to its roots of providing unique and authentic content to its loyal audience without the restrictions associated with a publicly traded, licensed gaming company.”

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