Sling TV is hoping that those hundreds of millions of views Barstool Sports gets on social media translates into a some platform engagement for its comparatively little virtual pay TV service.
The Dish Network-owned virtual MPVD has announced the formation of a new, exclusive linear channel, built around the Boston-spawned, bro-culture-fueled digital native brand.
Just as the 2021 football season is about to kick off, the Barstool Sports Channel launches on Sling TV with a range of take-heavy sports betting- and fantasy-themed programming already available for free on the open internet. Among them: Barstool College Football Show, The Pro Football Football Show, 'One Bite' Pizza Reviews, Pardon My Take and Call Him Papi with David Ortiz and Jared Carrabis.
The new linear channel will also include, however, new episodes of The Brandon Walker College Football Show that are exclusive to Sling TV.
According to Tubular Labs data spotted by Digiday this morning, 79% of the 536 million minutes of digital video viewing generated by Barstool Sports in August came via Facebook. Barstool Sports also has apps on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.
Sling TV, which already features other digital-first brands such as Tastemade and Bon Appetit in its channel guide, hopes even a small fraction of the Barstool's audience migrates over to its platform.
Sling TV just reported around 2.4 million users and significantly trails in stature to Hulu + Live TV (4 million subscribers) and YouTube TV (3 million), two vMVPDs that launched several years after Sling TV did.
As for Barstool Sports, the brand keeps proliferating. In case you haven't been keeping up, the startup sports blog, founded by the brash, polarizing Dave Portnoy and nurtured by The Chernin Group, was valued at $450 million in early 2020 when it was sold to casino company Penn National Gaming.
"We're confident that Barstool's incredibly engaged and loyal audience will embrace the Sling experience, where we continually push the boundaries in streaming live and on-demand TV," said Sling TV President Michael Schwimmer, in a statement.
Added Erika Nardini, CEO of Barstool Sports: "Having our own channel on Sling is another way for Barstool to continue to move the goal post and break barriers in broadcast and streaming. We are ready to bring both Barstool and Sling's engaged audiences our content and personalities in time for the college and pro football seasons and much more."
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.
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