Barstool Sports often promoted itself as the anti-ESPN, creating a situation where ESPN previously threatened to take legal action against the company. Now, it appears ESPN and Barstool’s highly popular podcast, “Pardon My Take” are working on developing a show to air on ESPN2.
Barstool Sports surpassed being a blog with a cult following and immersed itself into mainstream media. The website averages 200 million views per month, and its 18 month old satiric podcast, “Pardon My Take” garners between 750,000 and 1.5 million listeners per episode. In comparison, ESPN’s “Pardon The Interruption” gets about 1 million viewers daily and around 650,000 tune into “First Take.”
The podcast, hosted by Dan Katz, also known as “Big Cat,” and the anonymous “PFT Commenter” is built around their unique chemistry, jokes, and antics. Their interviews display an unscripted comfort level between host and guest similar to that of “The Howard Stern Show.”
Just one month after the podcast’s debut, ESPN contacted Barstool stating, “Your ‘Pardon My Take’ design is clearly a doctored, composite use of the PTI and FT marks.” ESPN continued by threatening action under the “federal Lenham Act” which governs trademarks and unfair competition. 17 months later it seems as though their relationship has improved enough for ESPN and “Pardon My Take” to join forces.
Details of the merger haven’t yet been released. The show is expected to air late night on ESPN2 and won’t interfere with the hosts continuing their “Pardon My Take” podcast on Barstool. ESPN’s decision to bring in Big Cat and PFT Commenter is an example of targeting the younger digital audience.