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Dave Portnoy  

Owner and Founder of Barstool Sports

David Portnoy is an American internet celebrity, blogger, and founder of the sports and pop culture blog Barstool Sports.

Portnoy started Barstool Sports when he noticed there was a void in the market for analysis to inform his sports betting in the 2000s. It was the early days of the internet, but Portnoy opted to make Barstool Sports a local Boston paper, not the website it is today. Portnoy wrote the first issues himself and passed them out to commuters.

Bartstool Sports went digital around 2008, although Portnoy continued to distribute print issues until 2013. As the website's audience grew, so did Barstool's value, especially as Portnoy placed emphasis on creating personalities at Barstool.

“We were always early to things,” Portnoy said. “When I started doing this, you could write a story, and there was no real rush. As time went on, it became a competitive industry and other blogs would write the same stories as us. Everyone could have a similar take on something on the internet. But nobody – and still to this day – nobody has the personalities that we have here.”

The site made headlines in 2020 when it reached an agreement to sell a 36 percent stake to Penn National Gaming Inc. for about $163 million. Media company The Chernin Group owns a 36 percent stake in Barstool Sports and the rest is controlled by Portnoy, Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini and employees.

The company launched Barstool Sportsbook, a mobile application for sports betting, in Pennsylvania in September 2020. During its first week of operation, it handled $11 million in wagers. Only those physically located in Pennsylvania may legally use the app, however, Penn National intends to expand its operations to other states.

Portnoy has spearheaded numerous charitable campaigns through Barstool. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, the site raised $240,000 for the victims of the attack. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related government restrictions, Barstool launched The Barstool Fund, a fundraising non-profit which provides financial support to small business owners across the United States.

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