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Barstool Sports in ‘Significant’ Talks with MLB About Broadcasting Games

Jeff Kotuby

Could Barstool Sports be the next broadcasting powerhouse? If a report by the New York Post is any indication, they may soon be broadcasting a “Big 4” sport that CBS and NBC don’t have.

According to the Post’s Andrew Marchand, Barstool Sports and Major League Baseball have had significant talks about the media company broadcasting the league’s midweek games, an opportunity that opened up after the latest ESPN rights deal. “MLB and Barstool potentially could team up to create a new type of broadcast with a focus on in-game gambling,” Marchand said. “The talks have started recently, and while they have picked up steam, an agreement is not yet a certainty. One source deemed it ‘50-50.’”

While the advent of legalized sports gambling certainly helps a potential deal between the two sides, (Barstool also owns a sportsbook that operates in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana that would certainly play into any sort of content offerings) it’s Barstool’s influence on younger sports fans that the MLB desires. “Barstool sticks out because it has the connection to a younger audience MLB craves,” Marchand said, “and could possibly create buzz with its alternative delivery approach. Barstool would be expected to deliver the games through its website, Instagram and Twitter accounts, among others.

Barstool is already set to sponsor and broadcast college football's Arizona Bowl, taking the traditional broadcast rights away from CBS. The bowl is slated for December 31 and will include teams from the Mountain West Conference and the Mid-Atlantic Conference. Barstool would love to add Major League Baseball games to its catalog of live sports content.

Barstool wouldn’t be the first streaming entity to try and marry live sports and live betting — both Sling TV and fuboTV have made sports betting a focal point of their near-futures.

Speaking virtually at the Stream TV Show, Sling TV’s VP of Product, Jon Lin, and fuboTV’s Chief Product Officer, Mike Berkley showcased the benefits of recently introduced betting products on both platforms. “We’re very excited about these player prop-style questions right now,” Berkley said. He pointed out that fuboTV is testing a product that allows viewers to bet in the first quarter of a basketball game, on how many points a particular player will score in the second quarter, for example.

“We believe online sports wagering is a highly complementary business to our sports-first live TV streaming platform,” said fuboTV CEO David Gandler in March. “We don’t see wagering as simply an add-on product to fuboTV. Instead, we believe there is a real flywheel opportunity with streaming video content and interactivity.”

So apologies to those who bemoan the myriad of sports betting ads that populate their airwaves — they don’t seem to be going anywhere.

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