Has Barstool Sports Jumped the Shark?

They said the banks were too big to fail.  To an extent that was true.  But didn’t they kind of fail?  I mean, they were bailed out but they definitely failed.  Barstool’s rapid growth seems to be coming at the expense of watered down content and stretching their few stars very thin.  Their loyal following is what keeps them going.

Does watered down content and half-assed blogs develop the same loyalty as long time stoolies, to an audience only experiencing Barstool for the first time?

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Who the fuck is this guy ^^^???  That’s Fonzie after he jumped over a shark in Happy Days.  That’s also the picture that pops up for “Jumping the Shark” on Wikipedia which is defined as attempting to draw attention to or create publicity for something that is perceived as not warranting the attention, especially something that is believed to be past its peak in quality or relevance.  Past its peak in quality or relevance….

To some, Barstool has never been bigger or better.  They obviously haven’t been around long.  The Stool is definitely bigger but is it better?  In a sense, yes, of course it is.  The sound quality is better. They use actual microphones.  There is actual production value.  Everyone being in the same spot has allowed for some great creative growth.  Its just really hard to recreate the brilliance and honesty of what used to be Barstool when Pres did a wine taste test with Hank.  Or when Pres went to the AVNs.  Or when there was the Pirate Porn Gate.   That was the Wild West of the internet.  That was the old Barstool. Lately there seems to be a struggle to recreate the magic.

There is no doubt in my mind that Big Cat, KFC and Pres are major stars.  They make Barstool what go.  PFT has been a smash hit all around but especially on the #1 Podcast Pardon My Take.  Kmarko is still banging out blogs at an impressive clip.  New addition Francis seems to bring something new and different to the table while almost unanimously being disliked in the office which is impressive.  But the mainstays are stretched thin.

Big Cat never blogs anymore.  I miss the Microsoft Paint.  To be fair, he has a monster hit on his hands that requires more of his time.  The biggest star at Barstool continues to shine but usually 3 times a week and occasionally on the Rundown.

KFC has turned into a caricature of an angry North Easterner while doing 800 shows which to everyone outside of the NE is literally the worst type of person on the planet.  His (great) ability in front of a microphone has literally hurt his brand.  When  you have to talk about the same things on multiple platforms in the same day you can’t really blame him for feigning hate, or contempt.  But is that how he wants to be perceived?  The dude is talented for sure.

Pres always puts asses in the seats but even he can’t write a blog over 75 words these days.  We get it dude.  You’re very busy with the business side of things now.  We aren’t going to be pissed if you spare us thoughtless blasphemy to create page views and to stoke the Go Pres Go crowd.  This conjured rivalry with Lebron is the pits.

I say all of this as a huge fan of what these guys have built.  It’s commendable and extremely impressive but scalability is tough to master and I think Barstool has missed the boat.

Today did it for me.  Take this blog from El Pres.

Will This Play When Jae Crowder Stuffed Lebron James In A Locker Be The Play That Symbolized the End of Bron Bron’s Career?

No dude, it won’t.  Writing the outrageous to get clicks from a loyal beyond reason Boston fanbase is beneath you.  What’s the most preposterous, outrageous thing I can say to get clicks???  Multiply it by 10 and hit publish.  All in a day’s work for Pres.

How about this blog from lovable chameleon eyed Huff Post blogger Riggs about the students walking out in protest at Notre Dame?

If You Didn’t Walk Out During Mike Pence’s Notre Dame Graduation Ceremony You’re An Idiot

The take went exactly where I hoped it wouldn’t…you’re an idiot not because you are disrespecting our VP or fulfilling every snow flake stereotype thrown at you from the right or missing out on the reward of 4-5 years of hard work…nope.  Because graduation ceremonies are the WORST bro.  Why sit through a ceremony that your parents, siblings, aunt and uncles, grandparents, etc drove/flew in for?  You had your chance bros!  Love Riggsy on the Fore Play pod.  Have the easy clicks obtained by writing Trumps name made Riggs lazy?  Miss the old political Riggs takes.

What does everyone else bring to the table?

Glenny was a shooting star who had his 15 minutes and is fading fast.

Asa was a horrendous addition to what used to be the best podcast on the Barstool network.  (Wisely she has been removed from KFC Radio and it is getting back to what made it great in the first place.)

Clem?  Love Clem.  Can’t hate the big guy but it would take a while for me to notice he’s gone.

Nate?  Gross.

Smitty?  I actually like Smitty because he genuinely tries. He rarely get’s it right but he tries.

Coley is killing the social but has a face only a mother could love.

Feits is Feits.  To quote Nate, he’s pizza.  Riding the coat tales of Satrudays Are For The Boys.

I haven’t watched more than 5 minutes of a Rundown that didn’t contain all 3 of Pres, BC and KFC.

If your only hits are still coming from the big 3 then is it really going gang busters?

By all metrics I’m sure Barstool is doing the best they’ve ever done.  The growth is visible.  The page views are off the charts.  Interviews here, there and everywhere.  Nardini, Jay and Louis have brought in bigger and better sponsors.  They had a brief but very successful stint on TV with Comedy Central.  New “franchises” like Stool Scenes and Milmore’s weekly cartoons are must watch.

Here’s my point:  this massive growth being experienced now is due mostly to the rabid loyalty of a fan base built off the blood, sweat and tears of the old hats.  Years of content and pushing boundaries to make us laugh.  Does watered down content and half-assed blogs develop the same loyalty to an audience only experiencing Barstool for the first time?

I say this as humbly as possible since this shitty blog rarely has new content and struggles to get 50 page views a day:  I sincerely hope Barstool figures this out.

PS –  Here is a link to the book “Sharks Have Feelings Too” by Pres.  Pretty funny



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