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Barstool Sports to Partner with MLB?

Barstool Dave Portnoy (from live video)

Barstool Sports is currently negotiating with Major League Baseball for the rights to broadcast MLB games. Barstool Sports is owned by Jewish entrepreneur Dave Portnoy.

According to a report in the New York Post, Barstool Sports and MLB have been conducting “significant” negotiations on the matter. Barstool could land the rights to broadcast midweek MLB games.

Speculation abounds that any such deal would include some sort of in game gambling. Sports gambling has exploded in the U.S. ever since a Supreme Court ruling struck down federal laws prohibiting sports gambling in the various states.

Such a partnership comes with a great deal of controversy and criticism. For one, Barstool Sports has been accused of misogyny. Just look at the stories that fill up their homepage. Then there is all the controversy surrounding the whole idea of sports gambling.

But baseball is desperate to do anything to improve ratings and bring in new sources of revenue. MLB television ratings have been declining for years and its fan base is aging. All teams now have advertising all over their fields’ walls and even the umpires now wear ads on their shirts. MLB came close to putting ads on the players’ uniforms, but the players’ union blocked the move.

There is also the matter of Dave Portnoy himself. Mr. Portnoy is certainly a colorful personality, someone who once might have been called eccentric. Just look back at his open feuds with companies like GameStop and his complaints about how he has been treated in the press.

Dave Portnoy spoke yesterday with Fox Business about his company’s plans for sports gambling in the future. “We’re trying to build the most forward thinking gambling company that you can find,” he said.

“Basically we want to get media [and] gambling [to] converge. When a new generation gets sports news or are looking to gamble they are coming to us. It’s a big deal and an exciting time in the whole industry, really.”

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