Ohio and Wyoming are set to face off in tomorrow’s Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, one year after what was supposed to be the media company’s first time hosting the event was one of several COVID-related bowl cancelations across college football.
Barstool is streaming the game exclusively across its digital platforms, marking a new frontier for the company that has expanded its live events business from amateur fights to college basketball and now a Division I bowl game.
Barstool regularly live streams plenty of content on a daily basis, but for this game is relying on the technology it uses for its popular Rough N’ Rowdy fights, which reached nearly 150,000 concurrent viewers at its peak.
“I think it's an entirely possible that we can beat 150,000 concurrents for this game,” Pete Overmyer, Barstool’s Head of Media Tech & Production, told me. “It’s in a really sweet spot of viewership. It's basically a holiday. It's the right time on both locally mountain time and then East Coast people are excited the day before the College Football Playoff.”
To support the expanded effort, Barstool will be encoding the game stream to three separate distribution points that are all hot at the same time to ensure a seamless viewing experience. Barstool will have about a 70-peron TV crew on site, as well as around another 50 employees from its New York City office. Talent will be on the field to give viewers unique game access with mics and earpieces and even a hat camera that Overmeyer hopes could help someone function as a “human pylon camera.”
Barstool’s deal to sponsor the Arizona Bowl is for multiple years, and the company has its sights set on even more sports properties moving forward. “Live events have been in our DNA,” Lisa Litvack, Barstool’s VP, Live Events & Production Ops, said, citing the company’s breadth of experience in the space broadcasting events and complementary coverage. "This is just another category that we could add on to that live event umbrella."