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Dave Portnoy: ESPN Rejection Shaped Future Of Barstool

“You can do whatever you want at Barstool. Sink or swim. The internet weeds it out.”

Ricky Keeler

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Sometimes, in life, certain things may not happen the way people want them to, but it may end up being all for the better in the end. For Dave Portnoy, the president and founder of Barstool Sports, that was the case back in 2017 when it appeared that the Pardon My Take podcast was going to move to ESPN as a show called Barstool Van Talk. 

On Friday, Portnoy was a guest on The Dan Dakich Show podcast and he told Dakich that the deal not working out with ESPN worked out for Barstool and defined the company moving forward.

“It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to us,” Portnoy said. “Barstool was at an interesting point. If they made a big offer, we wouldn’t have been able to match it. It drove Dan back to Barstool fully and it really kind of galvanized us vs. the world. It plays to our advantage.”

Portnoy went deeper into what exactly happened that cause the partnership to fail. To the surprise of no one, he did mention Sam Ponder. He showed her begrudging respect for the way she put herself in the center of undoing a deal that the network and Barstool had been working on for over a year. 

“I was always a little uncomfortable with the deal because I thought ESPN wanted to test drive Dan and PFT. We have the show and then, I had made fun of Sam Ponder 3 years beforehand on the College Football show. She had her kid on and I said in graphic language, which I wish I didn’t use, nobody is tuning in to see a little kid. You are a very attractive woman. Young guys want to see you. Get the kid off the show.

“She sat on it and I give her credit because that’s something I do. I’m a grudge guy. The day after the show, she’s like this is who we are doing business with and it became a big power struggle with ESPN. They cancelled the show after 1 day.”

Barstool Sports aggressively touts its “us vs. the world mentality.” Portnoy told Dakich that “98%” of what is written about the site is easy to dismiss because it is written by people that don’t make an attempt to understand what he and his staff do.

“There’s a group of people who don’t like me. I’m used to it. Somebody said this to me the other day, he people who don’t like me, if I was walking across water, they would say it’s because I can’t swim. We are not for them. Turn the channel off. Don’t pay attention to me. I don’t care.” 

During the interview, Portnoy said that he feels Barstool has a distinct advantage over competitors such as ESPN. He isn’t trying to find shows that appeal to certain demographics. Portnoy said he accepts he does not have the answers. He will let the audience determine what is and isn’t a good idea.

“I don’t care what your background is. If you come off a cornfield or whatever, if you make me laugh, if you are talented, I will hire you. I don’t tell them what to do. I don’t come up with the ideas. You can do whatever you want at Barstool. Sink or swim. The internet weeds it out.” 

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Draymond Green, JJ Redick Sell Out Live Podcast Show

The show will collaborate for the first time and it will mark an interesting time in the thrusting of new media onto the public consciousness.

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Old Man Draymond

The two new and most visible faces of the new media influx have teamed up for a live show that will take place in New York City. Draymond Green and JJ Redick are bringing their respective podcasts to the stage for a live experience.

On Monday (June 27), Draymond Green’s The Draymond Green Show and JJ Redick’s The Old Man and the Three will seek to entertain an already sold out audience at The City Winery in New York City.

The show will collaborate for the first time and it will mark an interesting time in the thrusting of new media onto the public consciousness. JJ Redick has earned universal praise for how he has handled his career post-retirement from the NBA, including appear often opposite Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s First Take as well as the network’s myriad of other programming.

Draymond Green has been very public with his podcast that has very publicly recorded episodes minutes after Warriors games. He has recently invoked his mantra that he isn’t a part of the media (despite signing a contract with Turner Sports and Colin Cowherd’s The Volume). Instead he insists he is a part of the aforementioned new media.

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Scott Van Pelt Not Hurt By Draymond Green’s “New Media” Comment

“He’s the one that said it. Isn’t he the one who said he’s new media? I was just trying to give him credit in saying, ‘Look, you now have control of your narrative and you can go do your podcast now.’”

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Scott Van Pelt

We have heard an awful lot in the fast month about “new media” with a large section of that discussion coming in regards to athletes in or formerly in the NBA. One such interaction was between a member of that new media and Scott Van Pelt.

After Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a victorious Draymond Green was interviewed on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt. In the interview, Van Pelt asked Green about dealing with the outside “noise” around the Finals. After Green gave a to-be-expected type answer, Van Pelt followed-up with the initial comment that start a wave.

Van Pelt: You’re part of the media now and you get to control the conversation from your perspective and I know you’ll-

Green: New media.

He then corrected Van Pelt’s assertion that Green had stated Stephen A. Smith was new media by saying:

Green: And by the way go watch The Draymond Green Show. I said Stephen A. sometimes acts like the new media. Sometimes he doesn’t. That’s on you, but nonetheless, don’t just lump me in with media, baby. It’s the new media.

Scott Van Pelt appeared on the SI Media Podcast and was asked about this exchange.

“I didn’t get that,” Van Pelt said of Green’s resistance in being associated with the word “media.”

“He’s the one that said it. Isn’t he the one who said he’s new media? I was just trying to give him credit in saying, ‘Look, you now have control of your narrative and you can go do your podcast now.’”

Van Pelt went on about Green’s categorizing of Smith and other media as a separate column of media.

“I guess what Draymond actually said was sometimes he’s new media. I don’t give a shit who’s what…I think now as it relates to media, there’s no new and old because people that are in the old media are doing the new media and people that are in new media are cutting through in ways that people in old media didn’t think they ever would many years ago. I guess all I’m saying is whatever Stephen A. is, he exists in both lanes and Draymond, clearly his content cuts through on his podcast or with me.

I wasn’t hurt by it. I didn’t take it like he was mad at me. I was just correcting the semantics. It didn’t trouble me. Whatever. However Draymond frames what Stephen A. Smith is or what any of us are, it doesn’t feel important. I think it’s important he has that place where he wants to do his thing. And I think people are interested in hearing from the guy that was just out there not long after saying what he has to say.”

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Big Cat Asks For Listeners’ Help Booking Kevin Durant on Pardon My Take

“On a recent edition of the podcast, Big Cat talked about how the Brooklyn Nets star has continued to snub requests to come on the show.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Barstool’s Big Cat has been trying to book NBA star Kevin Durant on Pardon My Take for five years, but the former MVP just won’t say yes.

On a recent edition of the podcast, Big Cat talked about how the Brooklyn Nets star has continued to snub requests to come on the show.

“We want Kevin Durant on this show, and he has just alpha-ed me so hard at this point,” Big Cat said. “I need people to start replying to his tweets saying just go on Pardon My Take.”

It’s not like KD has given Big Cat the cold shoulder. Big Cat said Durant has responded to his DMs on Twitter before, even wishing him Happy Thanksgiving one year. But so far all attempts to get Durant on PMT have been futile.

“Maybe if we start getting some rings, then he’ll be like, ‘Yeah they’re an elite team, and I want to join up with them. And maybe I can help them win something,'” PFT Commenter said, referencing the fact that PMT is yet to be recognized with any podcasting awards.

Durant did more or less tell the podcast on Twitter he wasn’t interested on Wednesday.

Durant’s response probably still won’t deter Big Cat from trying to get Durant on the show, but at least they know where KD stands.

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