Earlier today, news broke of a potential partnership between MLB and Barstool Sports:
While the article mentions other streaming services (NBC’s Peacock & YouTube) as vying for MLB’s attention, the public’s focus was squarely on Barstool Sports. The article discusses several reasons for the league’s interest in Barstool Sports, chief among them offering an in-game gambling experience and access to a growing younger fanbase.
According to the source of the article, the deal between Barstool Sports and MLB is considered to be “50-50”. It’s worth considering the league’s current viewership, and if there aren’t better partners out there to help MLB grow.
Last August, ESPN reported its MLB viewership numbers and demonstrated a 69% increase in adults ages 18-34. The Barstool Sports – MLB partnership becomes curious when considering that female viewers ages 18-34 provided an 83% increase in viewership, representing the fastest-growing demographic of all baseball viewers (Hispanic viewership yielded a 77% increase – more on that later).
You can read further into the past accusations against David Portnoy and Barstool Sports here to get a better understanding of the broader conversation at hand, but I want to focus on the viewership numbers for the league and the alternatives the league could pivot to for a more successful streaming expansion. Let’s take a look at some options.