ESPN reportedly played role in nixing bowl game sponsored by Barstool Sports
Barstool Sports has continued to steadily grow its media empire since founder Dave Portnoy sold a majority stake of the company nearly three years ago, and it may only be a matter of time before there is such a thing as the Barstool Sports Bowl.
According to a report from Sports Business Journal, Barstool Sports was in the running to sponsor a college bowl game in Mobile, Ala., this year. A deal was actually agreed upon, but Lending Tree ended up securing the sponsorship in part because of “pressure” from the NCAA and ESPN.
.@barstoolsports Barstool was in the running to sponsor a college football bowl game in Mobile, Ala., @markjburns88 reports. The sponsorship ended up going to @LendingTree. SBJ Media is live: https://t.co/CUSFtmSJQ7 pic.twitter.com/4PDLsZBeaD
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) November 26, 2019
Portnoy confirmed the report on Tuesday morning. Not surprisingly, he mocked ESPN for being afraid to “feed the company that is eventually going to eat you.”
This is true. @espn killed it because they are scared of us. Honestly I would have killed it if I was them to. No need to feed the company that is eventually going to eat you. Just a matter of time till we get a bowl game though. https://t.co/ljzq2uWgNa
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) November 26, 2019
ESPN and Barstool have a complicated history, and Portnoy has taken advantage of that by doing what he does best — parlaying a feud into financial gain. ESPN had actually partnered with Barstool two years ago for a TV show, but the agreement was cancelled due to backlash. The deal may have fallen through in large part because of the way Samantha Ponder unloaded on ESPN for working with Barstool.
Barstool is always looking for ways to grow its brand, and that has included sponsoring a NASCAR driver this past season. They’re very good at getting what they want, so we may see the Barstool Sports Bowl before long.