Barstool has entered the boxing business by purchasing Rough N Rowdy, an amateur boxing contest from West Virginia, creating the company’s new subdivision, Barstool Brawl. According to Barstool founder Dave Portnoy, the new acquisition is thanks to ESPN.
“I knew the second time I had to get this company. It was touch and go, because obviously they had their own business. Thankfully, Sam Ponder came about, made all this money for us with website clicks, the best couple of weeks we ever had. The first fight is going to be December 15.”
The “second time” refers to Portnoy attending the West Virginia boxing event twice. What is Rough N Rowdy? Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post did a feature on the contest in March.
“One weekend every March, almost every resident in this town crowds the tan-and-gray bleachers of the local armory to watch their friends and neighbors beat one another bloody. The boxing-brawling event — known as the “Rough N Rowdy” — draws more than 2,000 spectators a night in a 3,000-person city nestled so deep in the mountains that your cellphone won’t ring. The winners leave with a trophy, a jacket and a check for $1,000 — the same take-home as a few weeks of soot-covered entry-level work in the local mines,” wrote Lowery
No financial terms of the deal were disclosed. Barstool plans to produce at least 12 live boxing events per year, selling tickets and hosting pay-per-view broadcasts for each. In March, Barstool streamed the first night of a two-night boxing tournament in which one of their employees fought. 12,500 customers purchased the fight for $5 each, triggering the thought for Portnoy that this could be a successful business model.
Rough N Rowdy founder, Chris Smith, will join Barstool as president of Barstool Brawl. Barstool plans to further invest in the new division by placing at least 30 employees under Smith. Barstool will produce the pay-per-view streams with three or four producers at each live event as well as Barstool personalities providing commentary during the broadcast.