MLB & Barstool Sports: The Right Partnership?

John Brewer
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 3: Umpires review a call with the assistance of an MLB.TV technician in the fourth inning during a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals at Citizens Bank Park on July 3, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 7-2. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 3: Umpires review a call with the assistance of an MLB.TV technician in the fourth inning during a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals at Citizens Bank Park on July 3, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 7-2. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /
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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.

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