Recently, Barstool Sports sold around 40% stake to Penn National Gaming for about $200 milly and I had to celebrate this rare win for media.
Digital media in 2020 is an archaic ruin burning down daily as companies like Deadspin and Sports Illustrated get purchased by random investment firms who are more focused on announcing that they own these online publications than they are in actually maintaining and dare I say—improving them.
Deadspin doesn’t exist anymore because a company bought them and literally told them “stop doing all the things that made you guys successful” before the writers (over)dramatically quit.
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated fired everyone making real salaries and replaced them with struggling writers who don’t realize that they’re being drastically underpaid for their work.
So when I see Barstool Sports still thriving in this chaos, it gives me hope that Deadseriousness can make in these internet streets as well.
Barstool’s success is even more inspiring considering how absolutely average all of their content is.
Their blogs are 250 word run-on sentences in one massive paragraph with no punctuation and one reference to Seinfeld or The Office followed by hundreds of anonymous comments either calling the wack ass blog ‘comedy gold!’ or being ironically racist. But ignore the racism because the bloggers will tell you they have no control of the comment section or their fans.
The appeal is that they’re average joes trying the navigate in a dark cruel world of rooting for losing sports team and trying your hardest not to call the bartender a ‘dumb bitch’ because she didn’t give you her phone number at 3am last call while she was trying to clean up the shot you drunkenly just spilled all over the bar.
The comedy is that they suck. Just like you. You get it?? None of them understand when to use commas and neither do you so it’s like, super relatable. But it’s not all below-average writing.
Their main success is the result of their expansive podcast network where you truly get to know the mediocre men that you want to grab a beer with and talk about holding in farts at the job your father got you or whatever.
If you pull up the podcast app on your phone, you’ll see that Barstool podcasts fill the top of the charts. From Pardon My Take to Call Her Daddy, the mediocrity is impossible to ignore.
Pardon My Take is a show hosted Big Cat and PFT Commenter, two men who look like they smell like hotdog burps. One day a lonely 22-year old alcoholic found a genie lamp and wished for the bud light platinum in his hand would turn into a real human boy named Big Cat so they could spend all day at the local casino betting $500 on the Rose Bowl under.
Big Cat and PFT chortle at their lowest common denominator jokes like Beavis and Butthead as the guest they bring in attempts to be ‘one of the bros’ in a clearly inauthentic unnatural interview that doesn’t matter.
Call Her Daddy is a show hosted by two artificially attractive women as they lie about their sexual history. There’s certainly a space for women talking openly and brazenly about sex and that space is being borrowed by two girls whose sexual intelligence and curiosity peaked after Googling ‘is squirt actually pee?’ after they had to clear out their already pre-existing Google search of ‘blue waffles’.
But the nothingness of their content truly comes to a head when their fearless leader, Dave Portnoy, records himself eating a slice of pizza.
Before I continue I have to reiterate how jealous I am at the overall Barstool Sports product.
I recognize that people enjoy Portnoy’s sense of humor so I don’t mean to be reductive when describing his pizza review. I totally get why people I enjoy it. I, too, like pizza. Pizza is good and Portnoy also likes pizza and thinks it’s good. Very relatable the way he and I both like pizza.
Barstool has a loyal fan base of college kids who have yet to develop any sort of media literacy necessary to discern between quality content and nonsense unimportant barren clickbait.
When I was 20, texting girls and crying when the Yankees lost was the pinnacle of my existence. Barstool provides that exact bullshit cotton candy that my dumb 20-year old brain was snorting off sticky dorm room desks after a long night of chugging Miller Lites and giggling at videos of Big Cat doing physical activities because he’s overweight and trying to run and stuff. Comedy.
Again, I am both envious of Barstool Sports and I’m glad they exist.
Obviously not a super huge fan of the way their employees spark internet beefs with women and then send their fans out to force these women offline but ignore that because their CEO is a woman so it’s impossible for them to be sexist.
Oh, also ignore that over 100 employees work at the Barstool office and 0 of them have brown skin.
Long live Barstool Sports, the most pointless media brand that has a new 9-figure partnership with a gambling company thus ensuring their ‘The Chive but like, sports Chive’ website can reign forever thus opening the door for Deadseriousness to exist in a world where I’d probably make astronomically more money if I created an Onlyfans account than actually writing.
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