As of January 14, 2021, Barstool Sports has raised over twenty-five million dollars to support one hundred and twenty-seven businesses.
Barstool, headquartered in New York City, was founded in 2003 by Dave Portnoy. Portnoy pursued many interests since he founded Barstool, ranging from various podcasts and reports on sports news, to sports betting, pizza reviews, and even day trading.
Barstool’s newest endeavor has been The Barstool Fund, which was created to help small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Portnoy posted a video on Twitter in December expressing his frustration at state governments for not allowing small businesses within the state to stay alive. He accuses state officials of not giving the businesses a chance to make money along with unnecessarily shutting down indoor dining.
To remedy this situation, Portnoy announced that he would start The Barstool Fund, which would help as many small businesses as it could. Along with the announcement, he stated that Barstool would put up half-a-million dollars of its own money to start the fund. Portnoy said the program would continue giving money to each selected location until the pandemic is over. The only requirement that must be met to apply for the fund: the employer must still be paying their employees.
Since announcing the grant, Portnoy has appeared on Fox News and CNN, and he has been featured in many articles throughout American newspapers.
Once Barstool chooses a restaurant, Portnoy will FaceTime the owner and announce the good news and then post the video to Twitter. Portnoy is passionate about what he is doing, even publicly saying that he will shame his rich friends on Twitter until they donate to the fund.
One of these restaurants is Flanigan’s Boathouse, a local business in Conshohocken which, like many others, has been severely hurt during the pandemic.
“We never thought that we would win ever in a million years,” restaurant owner Jamie Weber said. “It really truly was a total shock. We were struggling with things like staff, and we really had to reinvent the wheel here. Utilities, rent—our business was really struggling. We ended up losing probably half a million to seven-hundred and fifty-thousand dollars.”
The massive loss of money that is a prevalent issue for so many businesses stems from the lack of indoor dining. Because it is January, most people are not willing to eat outside.
Weber discovered the Barstool Fund through her kids, who are fans of Barstool Sports.
“We have seven children, and they really did it all,” Weber said. “We watched Barstool before, like the pizza guy, and I had heard of him, but that was all I really knew.”
Weber is impressed with what Barstool is doing for small businesses.
“They are trying to be really aggressive with being helpful,” Weber said, “It’s unbelievable.”