Barstool Sports Controversy Resurfaces: How Does it Affect their Partnership with Penn National?

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy is back in the news for a controversial conversation. This week, a 2016 video of Portnoy talking about Colin Kaepernick taking a knee resurfaced. The conversation between Portnoy and co-workers Kevin Clancy and Dan Katz about Kaepernick’s ethnicity and religion resulted in major backlash.

Portnoy originally came out and said he wasn’t apologizing as he stated that the resurfacing of the video was a chance for the “Barstool haters” to attack them. As the week went on, minority employees of Barstool talked to Portnoy about his actions and the 2016 video.

“I’m listening to what everyone is saying.” Pornot understands that his comments left minority employees out to dry, and wants to make sure he is there for them, and they feel comfortable working for Barstool. “I can’t apologize for my existence, but I can be better. I can be better for those guys.”

Does the Controversy Hurt their Partnership?

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Penn National partnered with Barstool Sports back in January as both entities are looking to enter the sports betting market. Penn National bought a 36 percent stake in Barstool. Overall, the partnership has been successful for both parties, as Barstool Sportsbook is looking to launch its sports betting app by the start of the football season.

Now, Barstool sports find themselves in the middle of controversy from a 2016 video that resurfaced this week. Portnoy has been at the forefront of the controversy as he is featured in the video, and has been active this week addressing it.

Barstool CEO Erika Nardini addressed the issue on Twitter. “We have and will continue to evolve. Not because anyone said we had to, but because we wanted to. I’m proud of that and proud of all the people we have here,” Nardini told her followers on June 29.

Cancel culture has grown in popularity over the last few years, trying to “cancel” people who have said and done controversial things. Now, Barstool is trying to navigate through the terrain.

Barstool’s partner, Penn National, has not commented on the issues surrounding their sports betting partner. Penn National was trading on the NASDAQ and opened the week, dropping to $28.28 after the videos surfaced on Sunday night. Their stock stayed at a loss for the week before rebounding on Wednesday. Ultimately, Penn National at $30.93 for the week.

At first, there seemed to be a dip in their stock price, which possibly tying it the Barstool controversy. As the week went on, Penn National bounced back to their average trading price.

Barstool and Penn Moving Forward

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Overall, Penn National doesn’t seem to be phased by the Barstool controversy this past week. Also, they have a minority stake in Barstool, so that could also affect how much of a hit they could take.

Barstool and Penn National still plan to launch their Barstool Sportsbook app in the fall. Right now, it looks like they’ll be able to keep moving forward and grow in the sports betting market. Penn National and Barstool Sports have a combined 80 million fans, which help the partnership from an audience perspective.

Barstool and Penn might lose some customers from this past week. However, the partnership still looks to have longterm success, especially with sports betting app on the horizon.

I fell in love with handicapping right away. Sports betting is a lot more enjoyable when going through advanced data to find an edge on a Vegas line. Situational plays is a focus of mine and study stats and data analytics to go along with certain situations to make myself a more well rounded capper. College football and college basketball are my favorite to bet.

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