At the end of the day it all comes down to money and I completely respect that. Dave Portnoy set up Barstool Sports with the intention of making a lot of money and doing something he loves doing and he appears to been exactly that. So here’s the thing or the crux of the issue of why hiring someone from AFTV makes absolutely no sense. Barstool Sports appears to make the bulk of its revenue from sponsorship and advertising deals but is now modelling its soccer content on AFTV. A media company which receives no sponsorship revenue. AFTV is a hugely popular media company with 1.3 million YouTube subscribers and 470,000 Twitter followers. Yet the media outlet does not have a single sponsor. The reason why? Because the organization is toxic. No reputable brand want’s to work with a media organization that refers to hooligans who have spent time in prison for their role in a murder as a “Legend” or want to sponsor a media organization who is racist towards Asian soccer players.
So if Barstool Sports builds up its soccer content and builds a strong following over the next 2-3 years and then seeks to monetize it like Barstool does with its football content then Barstool will simply struggle to find sponsors and advertisers. It may even effect Barstools ability to attract sponsors outside of its soccer content. The concept of a media organization which makes the bulk of its revenue from sponsorship deals modelling its content on a media organization that is unable to attract sponsorship is completely illogical.
Now if I’m wrong I’ll hold my hands up but brands are increasingly concerned about their image and don’t want to associate themselves with something which is to risky or ‘problematic’. But take this content from AFTV which was made just yesterday as an example of what AFTV are like and how they repel sponsors. It is a ‘supporter’ of Arsenal making jokes about how their £72 million player is unable to headbutt an opponent properly. To some people it maybe funny but surely major brands don’t want to associate themselves with jokes about professional athletes headbutting one another properly? Yes AFTV makes a tonne of money from YouTube, but Barstools business model is based on sponsorship revenue.
Now if you find this sort of content funny then really, that’s your choice and that’s not the issue. But the English Premier League didn’t become the worlds most popular sports league by accident. The way its presented and marketed has a huge amount to do with it. Indeed the revenue from European soccer is greater than the NHL, NBA and NFL combined and its partly down to professional media organizations presenting the content. Not having a pair of ‘Arsenal fans’ cracking jokes about how one of their players is unable to properly headbutt an opponent.
There must be a line between ‘banter content’ and toxic content. Barstool has proven that brands will sponsor banter content but I’m sure it will be much harder to attract sponsors to toxic content. Barstool sacked someone for making jokes about a young woman being murdered but then hire people from a media organization who are without question worse. When one of their content people calls an Asian player a “DVD seller” AFTV tried to cover it up and took them almost two weeks to sack the employee who made the remark.
Hiring someone from AFTV is a down and out terrible mistake and I wouldn’t be surprised if Barstool find it hard to find sponsors for their soccer content as a result. If I’m wrong then so be it. I guess only time will tell.
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