Say what you will about Barstool Sports, but they always seem to make a big, forward-thinking move while their competitors toil in the past.
Today, Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy announced via Twitter that his company would take over as both sponsor and broadcaster of the Arizona Bowl, airing the game digitally. “I’ve said many times that our ambitions at Barstool is to own the moon,” Portnoy said in an accompanying blog post. “This is a major breakthrough in that regard.”
Emergency Press Conference - Introducing The Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) July 27, 2021
Barstool has played the role of “media disruptor” many times through its multiple, forward-thinking pivots — taking their paper newsletter online, then transitioning to a podcast model, then generating additional revenue through merchandise sales, and opening a sportsbook in multiple states, to name a few ways they’ve changed the media landscape. Now, you can add “sports streaming broadcaster” to the list of accomplishments.
Apparently, though, the “broadcasting” angle of this partnership was unforeseen, according to Barstool CEO Erika Nardini. “It became clear our title sponsorship would have an implication on where the Arizona Bowl could be broadcast,” Nardini said to Sportico, who broke the story. “There’s no reason we can’t play in the broadcast space, the sponsorship space and the comedy or personality and opinion space,” Nardini said. “Obviously, we want to make sure we do it right and do it well, but this is a watershed moment for rethinking where and how games are broadcast.”
“We really believe that what we can do is take the best of traditional broadcast and take the best of traditional sponsorship and do both in a brand new way,” Nardini said in an interview. “We think we’ll bring new fans. We know we will bring a level of energy, and we’ll cover the game in a way that is completely unique, and uniquely Barstool.”
The bowl is slated for December 31 and will see teams from the Mountain West Conference and the Mid-Atlantic Conference, two favorite conferences of Barstool Sports’ many lovable personalities, square off. The game was previously broadcast on CBS.