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Barstool Sports announces Arizona Bowl sponsorship

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Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy speaks to reporters after announcing the company's sponsorship of the Arizona Bowl in the UA's Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. Courtesy Eric Rhodes, VP of Comms. for the Arizona Bowl

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy announced on Tuesday, July 27, that the digital media company will sponsor the 2021 Arizona Bowl.

“This game-changing partnership with Barstool Sports will literally change the landscape of the bowl for years to come, connecting our history of leading-edge innovation that showcases the grand traditions of football to Barstool’s unmatched creative content power and streaming services,” Kym Adair, executive director of the Arizona Bowl, said.

Sanctioned by the NCAA in 2015, the Arizona Bowl features a clash between two bowl-eligible Division I college football teams: one from the Mountain West Conference and one from the Mid-American Conference. These two teams face off in the University of Arizona’s Arizona Stadium on New Year’s Eve.

Though the official announcement came at an 11 a.m. press conference in the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre on the UA campus, Portnoy posted a video on his personal Twitter 13 minutes prior, spilling the news early. Sitting on the unicorn statue honoring former professor of modern dance David Berkey, which is located in the Wellness Garden next to the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, Portnoy announced that Barstool had a multi-year sponsorship with the Arizona Bowl.

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“We’re not just sponsoring a bowl game,” Portnoy said in the video. “We are, but we’re not, because we have exclusive broadcast rights. CBS used to own it — see ya, smell you later!”

As part of the sponsorship deal, Barstool will have exclusive international broadcast rights for the duration of the multi-year deal. The Arizona Bowl will be broadcast on Barstool’s streaming services, which are available on digital media platforms including Apple TV, Roku, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV.

This isn’t the first time a media company has attempted a “digitally focused” broadcast approach to the Arizona Bowl. The website Campus Insiders acquired the rights to exclusively stream the first two bowl games in 2015 and 2016. CBS Sports Network later acquired the rights to televise the bowl game in 2017 and did so up until last year.

Since its inception and up to 2019, the title sponsor of the Arizona Bowl had been NOVA Home Loans. Last year, the company declined to renew its sponsorship, and the real estate agency Offerpad took over as sponsor.

The Barstool sponsorship is especially interesting because of the company’s new venture into sports betting. In April, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law Bill 2772, which legalized sports betting in the State of Arizona. The Arizona Department of Gaming has designated Sept. 9 as the “go live” date for event-wagering.

Last September, Barstool Sports launched Barstool Sportsbook, a sports betting platform available in Pennsylvania. On Twitter, Portnoy suggested that Barstool Sportsbook will be available in Arizona in time for the Arizona Bowl.


“A lot of people are asking whether the #barstoolsportsbook will be live in Arizona before the #barstoolbowl. The answer is yes,” Portnoy tweeted on Tuesday.

With such a unique sponsor this year, viewers of the Arizona Bowl will certainly be expecting a unique experience. Will Barstool deliver?


Follow Kristijan Barnjak on Twitter



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