This week, we speak with Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, now part of publicly traded Penn National Gaming. He founded Barstool Sports in 2003/04 as a 4 page fanzine, handing them out at the Garden and Fenway Park. He has since built it into a sports media powerhouse. The company was recently valued at $450 million.
He recalls how when Bar Stool was launched, he was a one man band doing everything: He wrote the copy, sold the ads, distributed the paper, heading to the financial district subways to give it away. Later, he bought a cheap AstroVan on Craigslist, delivering the paper himself in the city and suburbs.
He is known for not only sports but for pop culture content, including his attempt to review every pizza place in NYC (“One Bite With Davey Pageviews).” After relocating to NYC, he built a team for print, web, podcast and video. he became a known on the streets of NYC, inviting celebrities and strangers on the street to join his reviews, with occasional odd results. Once live sporting events and gambling got cancelled, he became “Davey Day Trader,” inspiring an “Army of 1.8 million Twitter Day Traders” tracking his every move.
Earlier this year, publicly traded Penn National Gaming took a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for $163 million in cash and stock.
A transcript of our conversation is available here Monday.
You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Overcast, Google, Bloomberg, Stitcher and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Joel Greenblatt, whose Gotham Capital presided over an annualized return of 50% for a decade. His firm Gotham Asset Management manages a variety of funds that have beaten market indices . He is an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, on value and special situation investing. His latest book is Common Sense: The Investor’s Guide to Equality, Opportunity, and Growth.