Barstool Sports Business Model and SWOT Analysis: How Does Barstool Sports Make Money?

Barstool Sports has become a household name in recent years, and its business model is just as impressive. Founded by Dave Portnoy in 2003, the company has grown from a small blog to an international media powerhouse. This article will explore Barstool’s business model and conduct a SWOT analysis to gain insight into how they make money. We’ll also look at their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By the end of this article, readers will have a better understanding of the success behind Barstool’s business model.

Overview Of Barstool Sports

Barstool Sports is an American digital media company based in New York City. It was founded in 2003 and has since become one of the most popular sports and pop-culture media outlets. While it started as a blog, Barstool Sports now produces podcasts, radio shows, and TV programs, as well as selling merchandise. The company also hosts events such as comedy shows and sports tournaments.

Barstool Sports makes money through a variety of revenue streams. These include advertising revenue from its website and social media channels, merchandise sales, sponsorships with various sports teams and leagues, subscription fees for premium content, and ticket sales for its events. The company has also received investments from several major companies including Penn National Gaming, Chernin Group, The Raine Group, and Anthos Capital.

Overall, Barstool Sports has been successful with its business model thanks to its ability to engage with its audience through humor and controversy while still providing quality content about the world of sports. This has allowed the company to expand into other areas such as comedy shows and merchandise sales which have increased their revenue streams significantly. With continued success in these areas, Barstool Sports looks set to remain a powerful force in both the sports broadcasting world and pop culture for many years to come.

Digital Advertising And Partnerships

Barstool Sports’ digital advertising and partnerships enable the company to generate revenue in various ways. Through strategic partnerships with companies like DraftKings, Barstool Sports is able to monetize their platform by offering affiliate links and referral codes in exchange for a commission of any sales made from those links. Additionally, they use targeted ad campaigns on their site and social media channels to reach potential customers across a variety of platforms.

Barstool Sports also has a range of direct advertising opportunities available for businesses looking to partner with them. These include sponsored posts or videos, custom content creation, and other forms of integrated marketing that take advantage of the large audience that follows Barstool Sports.

Finally, Barstool Sports also has an online store that sells merchandise such as apparel, hats, and other accessories featuring the company’s logo and branding. This provides an additional revenue stream for the company as well as further exposure for their brand.

Bullet Point List:

  • Strategic Partnerships with companies like DraftKings
  • Targeted ad campaigns on site and social media channels
  • Direct advertising opportunities including sponsored posts/videos & custom content creation
  • Online store featuring apparel & accessories – Developing a strong presence on social media platforms

Merchandise And Apparel

Barstool Sports has established itself as a leader in merchandise and apparel. It offers a wide range of items from hats and t-shirts to hoodies, sweatshirts and more. The company also produces their own line of sports-related products such as mugs, water bottles and even golf balls. Barstool Sports’ apparel is highly sought after by its fans, making it one of the most profitable aspects of the business model.

The company also sells its merchandise online through its website and other third-party vendors such as Amazon, Zazzle and Fanatics. This allows them to reach an even wider audience and increase their potential customer base. Additionally, they have partnered with several major sports teams in order to create exclusive merchandise that is only available at certain venues or special events. These partnerships have greatly increased both their visibility and profits.

With its successful merchandise strategy, Barstool Sports has seen great success in terms of increasing revenue. In addition to selling merchandise, the company also utilizes a variety of marketing tactics including content marketing on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well as traditional advertising methods such as radio commercials and print ads. Through these strategies, they have been able to continue to grow their brand recognition while simultaneously driving up sales. As a result, Barstool Sports is able to generate considerable profits from their merchandise offerings alone.

Podcasts And Live Events

Furthermore, Barstool Sports has established a strong presence in the podcast world. Through their popular daily podcast, Pardon My Take, they’ve become one of the most successful sports podcasts in the world. Barstool Sports also hosts a weekend review show, KFC Radio and an evening show called The Rundown. In addition to these podcasts, Barstool Sports produces a number of other podcasts that cover all aspects of life from comedy to music to politics.

In addition to digital content and merchandise, Barstool Sports has developed a series of live events and tours. These events are centered around comedy, sports talk and music performances from popular artists. In 2019, Barstool held its first ever comedy tour across the country with headliners such as Bill Burr and Jim Norton. Along with comedy tours, Barstool has held Tailgate Tours for college football games featuring various celebrities like Kevin Hart and Marshmello. They have also hosted several “Barstool Idol” music competitions across the country where aspiring singers compete against each other for cash prizes.

The success of these events further cemented Barstool’s reputation as an industry leader in digital media entertainment. Their strategy of combining digital content with live events has enabled them to reach a wider audience while maintaining a loyal fan base. Here are some key benefits that can be derived from their business model:

  • Combining Digital Content & Live Events: By providing both digital content and live events, Barstool is able to reach different demographics while gaining exposure in both traditional and non-traditional markets.
  • Leveraging Popular Culture Trends: By staying up-to-date on popular culture trends and leveraging them in their marketing campaigns, Barstool is able to engage more customers while increasing brand loyalty among existing fans.
  • Increasing Brand Visibility: By hosting live events that bring together celebrities from various industries and fields, Barstool is able to increase its visibility among potential customers who may not have been aware of the company before attending one of its events or listening to its podcasts.

Overall, by capitalizing on popular culture trends while leveraging both digital content and live events, Barstool Sports has been successful in establishing itself as an industry leader in digital media entertainment through unique strategies that appeal to different audiences across various industries.

Subscription Model

Barstool Sports has been able to build a large, loyal fan base and generate significant revenue by leveraging its subscription model. The core of the subscription model is the Barstool Gold membership, which provides exclusive content to members including podcasts, live shows, blogs, and more. It also includes access to special offers and discounts on Barstool merchandise and events. The monthly fee for the membership is $9.99 per month or $99 per year. Additionally, Barstool has developed a pay-per-view platform that allows fans to purchase tickets for live events such as comedy shows and podcasts. This platform helps bring in additional revenue from events that are not included in the Barstool Gold membership package.

The success of Barstool’s subscription-based business model has been bolstered by their savvy marketing strategy that emphasizes word-of-mouth promotion through social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. This strategy has enabled them to build a devoted fan base that is willing to pay for exclusive content and experiences provided by the subscription service. Furthermore, they have used humorous videos and memes to engage with their audience while reinforcing their brand identity as an irreverent yet entertaining media company.

Barstool Sports has found success in monetizing their passionate fan base through their subscription business model while simultaneously building a strong brand identity online. With their focus on providing exclusive content through their subscription service coupled with innovative marketing strategies, they have created a powerful source of revenue that continues to grow each year.

Strengths Of Barstool Sports

Barstool Sports has a few strengths that have enabled it to be successful in the business world. First, its content is extremely popular and engaging. It provides an interesting blend of humor, sports news, and cultural commentary that resonates with many viewers. The company also has an impressive following on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. This gives Barstool Sports the ability to reach a wide audience and gain further exposure for its content.

Another strength of Barstool Sports is its ability to monetize its content through sponsorships, advertising, and merchandise sales. The company has been able to secure lucrative partnerships with several major brands like Bud Light and Microsoft Xbox. These sponsorships allow it to generate significant revenue while still providing quality content for viewers to enjoy. Additionally, Barstool Sports has successfully tapped into the online retail market by selling branded apparel and other merchandise through their website.

Finally, Barstool Sports’ strong leadership team has been instrumental in driving the company’s success since its inception in 2003. Founder Dave Portnoy has provided consistent direction for the business while also maintaining a close connection with his audience. He is often seen engaging directly with fans on social media as well as making appearances at events across the country. This allows Barstool Sports to maintain an active relationship with their loyal followers which helps support their brand’s growth both offline and online.

Overall, these strengths have contributed greatly to Barstool Sports’ success in making money over the years and will continue to do so in the future.

Weaknesses Of Barstool Sports

Barstool Sports has a number of strengths that have made it one of the most successful sports media companies in the world. They have built a large, loyal fan base by providing entertaining, irreverent content and by developing innovative revenue streams that allow them to monetize their audience. Barstool also has an impressive team of writers, editors, and producers who create consistent, high-quality content.

However, Barstool Sports also has some weaknesses that could potentially limit its growth and profitability in the future. One such weakness is its reliance on viral content for much of its success; without viral hits, the company would be unable to capitalize on its existing fan base. In addition, the company’s controversial reputation may alienate potential advertisers and prevent it from growing its revenues further. Finally, Barstool Sports’ business model relies heavily on advertising revenue which can be volatile depending on market conditions and industry trends.

The key challenge for Barstool Sports will be to find new ways to diversify its revenue streams while maintaining its core identity as an edgy and entertaining sports media brand. It must also strive to remain relevant in an increasingly crowded space where competition is only growing more fierce with each passing day.

Opportunities For Barstool Sports

Barstool Sports has a number of opportunities for growth. The company has built a strong brand, with unique content and a devoted core audience. By expanding its reach to new markets and building relationships with new partners, the company stands to benefit from increased revenue streams.

The potential for expansion into international markets is particularly exciting. Barstool Sports currently reaches audiences in the United States and Canada, but there’s significant potential for growth in Europe, Asia, Australia, and other regions. By leveraging their existing content and presence on social media, they could capture new audiences around the world.

Finally, Barstool Sports could benefit from strategic partnerships with like-minded companies in various industries including apparel, media & entertainment, sports betting & gaming, and more. By working together with these partners, they could reach larger audiences than ever before and expand their business model even further.

Threats To Barstool Sports

Barstool Sports has numerous opportunities to capitalize on its already strong brand and increase its success. Through strategic partnerships, sponsored events, and digital content, the company can reach a wider audience and increase its revenue. Additionally, Barstool Sports could expand into other markets such as apparel or merchandise to further leverage their brand.

However, there are also many potential threats that Barstool Sports must be aware of in order to remain successful. The most obvious threat is competition from other media outlets and bloggers who offer similar content. Additionally, the company may face legal issues if it fails to properly secure copyright permissions for their content or infringes upon the rights of others through their own content. Lastly, there is always the risk of economic downturn which could have a negative impact on demand for Barstool Sports’ products or services.

The company must carefully navigate these risks while continuing to take advantage of all available opportunities in order to remain profitable and successful in the long run. Staying ahead of market trends is key as Barstool Sports moves forward with its business model and strategy.

Summary And Conclusions

In this paper, the business model and SWOT analysis of Barstool Sports was discussed. It showed that the company makes money through advertisements, sponsorships, merchandise sales, podcasting and subscription services. The strengths of the company include its strong brand recognition, loyal following and innovative content. On the other hand, its weaknesses include a lack of mainstream visibility and limited reach with younger audiences.

Barstool Sports has been able to develop a successful business model by leveraging its loyal fan base and creating innovative content that resonates with them. It has also embraced new technology such as podcasting to increase its reach and monetize its content. While there are some challenges that it must overcome, such as increasing its visibility in the mainstream media, Barstool Sports is well-positioned to continue to grow in the future.

Overall, Barstool Sports has established itself as a successful brand by leveraging its unique approach to content creation and marketing strategies aimed at their fanbase. Although it faces certain challenges related to audience engagement and media awareness, these can be addressed if it can continue to innovate and find new ways to engage with its audience. With its strong brand identity, loyal fanbase and innovative strategies for monetization, Barstool Sports is well-positioned for continued growth.


In conclusion, Barstool Sports has been able to make money through digital advertising and partnerships, merchandise and apparel, podcasts and live events, and a subscription model. However, they have some weaknesses such as not having a large international presence. Despite this, there are still many opportunities for the company to capitalize on such as expanding into new markets. Additionally, there are potential threats such as changes in technology that could impact their business model. With the right strategies in place, Barstool Sports can continue to be a successful business. I’m sure with their current momentum they’ll be able to identify new ways of making money and further grow their brand.