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Job One For Barstool? Getting Back In The Black Says Dave Portnoy.

Despite the backing of the gaming company Penn National, Dave Portnoy says Barstool Sports has been operating in the red during the past few years. “We were losing money. When I owned it myself, we always made money,” he tells the New York Post. Earlier this month Portnoy bought back the company for one dollar. Portnoy says he is “clearly invigorated” with his first priority being putting Barstool back on solid financial footing.

“We get the business safe again. We gotta break even. That’s my goal,” he told the Post, saying it could mean some employees will be shown the door. “I’m not a total humanitarian. The new era starts now,” Portnoy said.

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 will celebrate its 20th anniversary and its now 46-year-old founder says he sees a lot of potential left for the producer of mainly sports and bro lifestyle content.

“There’s a lot of opportunity at Barstool. There’s always been. For those who want to work for it, they will rise to the top. And those who are skating by, they’re gone,” Portnoy told the Post.

Barstool Sports CEO Erika Ayers Baden has said that she is not going anywhere. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Ayers Baden – who recently remarried and hence is no longer Erika Nardini as many in the industry have known her – said not being part of a regulated gaming company will help.

“To grow Barstool and to have Barstool be relevant, and vibrant, and meaningful, it has to be able to explore comedy, and entertainment, and lifestyle and things that, honestly, just are really difficult in a highly regulated, highly punitive environment,” she said.

Portnoy told the Post that he is now “unburdened” and he plans to spill dirt on the state gaming officials that strained Barstool’s ties to Penn Entertainment. But Portnoy – who still owns shares in Penn – said he will wait until its deal with ESPN kicks in and the Barstool name is off Penn’s sports betting app so he “won’t cause problems’ for his former partner.

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