Dave Portnoy, the guy who owns Barstool Sports, recently took the company back for just $1. Now, he’s starting to cut jobs. It’s been said that almost 100 people might lose their jobs.
Dave Portnoy talked about the layoffs in a video, but he didn’t say exactly how many people would be affected. Before these layoffs, Barstool had around 430 employees.
Although we knew some job cuts were coming when Dave took over, we didn’t expect it to be this big.
Why Did Barstool Lay Off Employees?
In a video he put on YouTube on Tuesday, Portnoy said:
“I’ve been very clear. Anybody that’s paid attention, we are going to have layoffs and cuts, and they’ve started, and it sucks. And people who know me from the beginning [know] I hate firing people. You can be incompetent, not work, and I generally don’t fire because I hate it so much. It’s the worst thing to f***ing do. Having said that, we’re in a position [where] it’s a no-brainer.”
Barstool’s Financial Woes: A $16.1 Million Loss and More
Penn Entertainment sold Barstool back to Portnoy because they made a deal with ESPN to change their online sports-betting business.
Portnoy didn’t give all the financial details, but in a document they sent to the government (SEC), Penn said Barstool lost $16.1 million in the first six months of the year.
Penn said that, all together, it expected to lose up to $850 million by giving Barstool back to its founder. In the video on Barstool’s YouTube account, Portnoy defended the layoffs by saying, “We have to get back to a break-even thing. We’re losing a lot and it sucks.”
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Portnoy’s Tough Approach to Layoffs
Portnoy’s tough attitude in the video reminded some people of how Elon Musk acted when he first took over Twitter. Back then, Musk laid off a bunch of workers and said the ones left had to work really hard.
Portnoy made fun of an employee who was worried about someone losing their job and said that the people still working at the company need to work much harder. He also said that after the layoffs, many people would want to work for free.
“I’ll be flooded now with [notes saying] I’ll replace everybody,” he said.
Barstool Sports braces for major layoffs:
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) August 30, 2023
Barstool’s Return to Controversial Reality TV and the Impact on Remote Employees
It looks like the layoffs mainly affected employees who work from home. Barstool wants to go back to its style of making controversial reality TV, kind of like TMZ, where they talk about all sorts of things, including sports and adult content, and even the arguments that happen in the office end up on TV.
“Dave bought the company back, [and] Barstool’s back to being what it is when it’s at its best—and that’s a reality show. To be part of the reality show, you gotta be in one of the offices,” said Will Burge, a former podcaster who was impacted by the layoffs, in a tweet. “So obviously, it doesn’t make sense to have a remote employee who is not a part of the main product that Barstool is pushing at this point.”
Even though there have been losses and people have been let go, Portnoy says he thinks he can turn things around and get the site back to where it was before.
Portnoy said earlier this month, “I can get back in control of this thing—it may be rough for a couple months getting things back to where we’re not getting f***ing smoked, but I think I could make this a good place to work,”
Portnoy has never been nervous about being in the spotlight. Two years ago, after saying he lost $700,000 in meme stocks, Portnoy got involved in the drama surrounding Robinhood.
He called the CEO of that stock trading business a “rat” and a “liar” and then challenged him to a livestreamed debate. He also said something about Donald Trump’s indictment earlier this year.
He wrote, “Anybody who thinks going after Trump for [sic] payingpor a p*rn star to keep her mouth sh[u]t about an old affair is a good use of time or taxpayer dollars is a political pawn and can’t be trusted to give a fair opinion on anything,” He joked about running for president in 2021, but he never did.
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