Love them or hate them (and judging by the reactions, you either really love them or really hate them), Barstool Sports has been making waves recently. The sports and satire site recently received a big influx of cash thanks to media investor Peter Chernin’s The Chernin Group. Last week, they reeled in former SB Nation writer and “hot taek” maestro PFT Commenter.
The addition of PFTC also included the launch of the site’s new podcast, “Pardon My Take,” described as “the best thing to happen to the spoken word since God dictated the Bible simultaneously to the entire council of Nicea.” The podcast, which launched last Friday, was a runaway success, jumping to the top of the iTunes where it ranks alongside Serial and This American Life. All week its been the No. 1 podcast in the Sports category as well, even beating out ESPN’s offerings.
Most sports fans would probably recognize that the name sounds awfully-familiar. ESPN, home of sports-talk programs Pardon The Interruption and First Take, certainly seemed to think so. Its especially feels familiar when you look at the podcast cover art side-by-side with a certain ESPN podcast offering.
The Worldwide Leader responded to that revelation by sending Barstool a cease and desist letter requiring them to change the name of the podcast. Barstool responded in their own signature way.
Well it seems some of the suits at ESPN arent too happy with the new kids on the block coming in and domnating the podcast game, and they’ve fired back by sending us a nasty “Cease and Desist” letter asking that we not only change the logo, but also change the name of our podcast entirely on account of they claim it infringe’s on their intellectual property of “First Take” and “Pardon The Interruption.” If we dont comply with there demands by March 18th, they will be forced to take further legal action, which sounds like something youd say in a ransom video, kind of threatening to be honest. Why is it called “terrorism” when ISIS does this, but when its ESPN its apparently just good business practice? Seems like a doublestandard, and say what you want about the Islamic State but at least they’ve never broadcasted a entire summer of “Who’s Now.”
In the portion of the letter Barstool included, ESPN is accusing them of using a “doctored” composite image of PTI and First Take trademarks and that they are counting on audience’s recognition of the ESPN brands in order to promote their own podcast. Their concern, according to the letter, is that audiences will assume “Pardon My Take” is an ESPN podcast.
In his response, PFT Commenter claims that ESPN is more concerned with being usurped in the podcast rankings and that their usage is protected under fair use for parody reasons. PFT Commenter’s persona is itself a parody of certain types of sports fans and writers.
According to their post, Barstool does not appear to have plans to change the name. So we’ll wait til see if cooler heads prevail or if ESPN will flex its muscles against one of the up and coming players in town.