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#pounditSunday, December 5, 2021

MLB, Barstool Sports reportedly in discussions about broadcasting games

Dave Portnoy

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy recently claimed his company has had discussions with “major leagues” about broadcasting games, and he may have been referring to Major League Baseball.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported on Monday that Barstool Sports and MLB have had “significant negotiations” about broadcasting games during the week on the website’s various platforms. The partnership, if it comes together, could potentially have an emphasis on in-game gambling.

It does not sound like MLB and Barstool are all that close to a deal, as one source told Marchand an agreement is “50-50” to happen at this point. Both organizations declined to comment.

MLB currently has national TV broadcasting rights deals with ESPN, FOX and Turner. ESPN has dropped regular, non-exclusive Monday and Wednesday games from its next contract with MLB, which begins next year. That is where Barstool and/or other companies could come in. YouTube and Peacock are other possibilities.

As Marchand notes, Barstool could sell MLB on having direct access to a younger demographic, which the league has had trouble reaching in recent years. Incorporating in-game gambling would definitely increase interest in regular season contests.

Barstool’s parent company is Penn National Gaming. The company has opened several Barstool Sportsbooks, with several more planned as more states legalize sports betting.

Portnoy is a marketing genius, even if Barstool has been at the center of numerous controversies over the years. He was briefly suspended from Twitter earlier this year and immediately began trending for it. While MLB would probably face some backlash if it partnered with Barstool, the pros would almost certainly outweigh the cons.

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