“We are going to have layoffs and cuts and they've started, and it sucks,” says Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. Speaking on the Barstool Radio podcast Tuesday, Portnoy called the decision to reduce staff size a “no-brainer” since it is operating in the red. “We have to get back to break-even,” he said, adding, “We're losing a lot.”
For the first time in a decade, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy is the full owner of the sports and bro lifestyle brand he created and built into one of the biggest podcast creators. In a multipronged deal, Portnoy earlier this month bought back the stake in Barstool that he sold to casino operator Penn Entertainment three years ago for one dollar.
Portnoy says he hates firing people so much, that he usually allows staff to be incompetent and “not work” and not lose their jobs. But faced with Barstool’s economic realities, he is left with no other options, saying on the podcast that if he does not downsize no one will have jobs. Portnoy said he will instead expect remaining staff to do more to pull their weight. “People have to step the f**k up,” he said. “We all gotta be like, do more, not less.”
The first layoff announced is sports blogger Matt Fitzgerald, who Barstool had tapped to lead a newsletter project that never got off the ground. Portnoy did not say how many staff may lose their jobs.
With a lineup of nearly 100 podcasts, Barstool had 5.8 million unique U.S. listeners to its podcasts during July with 30.6 million downloads. Podtrac says that made it the ninth-biggest podcast publisher among those it measures. On August 27, Barstool celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Ironically, Portnoy said that every time he makes public statements about layoffs, he receives an influx of resumes from fans of the network who offer to work harder than existing staff. His message for them is simple. “We're not hiring or else we wouldn't be laying off,” Portnoy said.