David Portnoy Profile: Is This Really Boston’s Next Media Mogul?

Yes. His name is David Portnoy. And he’s building an empire – one blog post (and one babe) at a time.

He looks like — of all people — Mark Zuckerberg.

He’s beefier, but he has the same short, curly hair and set of round blue eyes. Even the nose is familiar. Softly anchoring the middle of the face, it’s his most prominent feature. And just like the world’s most famous young billionaire, David Portnoy is rarely seen in anything other than his signature outfit: jeans, hoodie, sneakers.

Then there’s the fact that he is obsessed with a website that, over the past several years, he’s built from nothing: Barstool Sports, a crudely designed, widely read (and highly readable) “sports/smut” site that can only be described as the bastard child of ESPN and Girls Gone Wild.

On a typical day, Portnoy wakes up at 9, gets a cup of coffee, and walks the three blocks to his office in Milton. Once there, he’ll sit down in front of his laptop and proceed to work for the next 10 hours. When the sun sets, he retraces his steps back home, eats dinner, and works another five hours. On Saturdays, he takes it relatively easy, but on Sundays, he’s on for another five or six hours.

Save for the “Barstool Sports” sign scribbled on a piece of paper and taped to the mailbox, Barstool HQ could be mistaken for the office of a suburban dentist. Inside, it’s another story. On Portnoy’s desk, a Dell laptop sits next to a scattered pile of blank business checks, a Dyson bladeless fan, and a large cup of coffee, one of four he’ll suck down on the average day. A football and a plastic sword lie on the floor, and posters of bikinied girls lean against the walls, half-naked sentries standing watch over the operation.

On the day I visit, Jenna Mourey, one of the company’s five full-time employees, has brought her two tiny dogs — Mr. Marbles and Kermie — to keep the ‘Stool crew company. When I pick up Kermie, Portnoy suddenly appears in the doorway to deliver some bad news.

“He just shit,” he says, pointing to the dog. “Just a second ago. In my office.”

Mourey shrieks: “Kermie!”

A petite Suffolk University grad with a master’s in sports psychology from BU and a pink streak running through her shoulder-length platinum hair, Mourey has been a full-time writer for the website since this spring. “Bad dog!” she scolds Kermie.

Portnoy points to the spot on the carpet and opens the back door. “It smells awful,” he says.

So Microsoft, it ain’t. But since its launch a few years ago, Barstool has become one of the most popular and talked-about blogs in the country. These days, it sees 1.4 million unique visitors a month, while its subsidiary websites — Barstool Sports NYC and StoolLaLa.com — bring in an additional million, numbers that in total surpass the websites of national magazines such as Rolling Stone, Glamour, and GQ. Just as impressive as Barstool’s ability to attract readers is its ability to convert that traffic into actual profits. Indeed, if Portnoy has anything to say about it, the garbage-strewn, dog-shit-scented office in Milton will someday be the unlikely seat of a multimedia empire. And sitting at the throne will be one of the city’s youngest — and most offensive — entrepreneurs, a 33-year-old Swampscott native best known by his self-styled online handle: “El Presidente.”

  • csr

    So the guy the reprints articles from other sites and gives sophomoric, Internet forum users-style commentary is considered a media mogul? Who knew?

  • El

    Viva La Stool!!

  • Jason

    VIVA LA STOOL

  • Jeff

    Viva La Stool!

  • Steve

    Dear first commenter,

    You suck large goat penis.

    Good day sir.

  • andrew

    The girl on the left is HOT!

  • J

    That Boston Magazine would even stoop to interview this lowlife is beyond understanding. He’s misogynist of the highest order and gives his mentally challenged fans a venue on which they can spew hatred and venom. He’s not funny, he can’t write or spell, and he’s one of the ugliest looking dudes on the planet. He might want to see a plastic surgeon about getting rid of the penis on his face masquerading as a nose. That some poor woman would actually marry him is another mystery. Can’t wait til they have a daughter who can grow up looking at Daddy’s website while figuring out how much he hates women.

  • Joel

    a few points about the 1st commentator…

    1) tough to criticize someone for being vulgar with a vulgar comment yourself…kinda steals some of your thunder

    2) don’t use big words like misogynist…Dave doesn’t understand them anyway

    3) not all movies are real…they have acotrs…some people act to get a rise out of people…it happened with you

    4) way to give Dave ammunition…you are now being ridiculed on his site and helping generate revenue for for barstool sports…congrats!

  • michael

    all you haters of barstool can go to hell ! el pres is one of the funniest mother fuckers ever. period thats it you cant dispute it if you dont like it then dont read it end of story as for the rest of us we are all gunna continue staying loyal regardless of the dumbass things you write so you might as well not write them

  • michael

    all you haters of barstool can go to hell ! el pres is one of the funniest mother fuckers ever. period thats it you cant dispute it if you dont like it then dont read it end of story as for the rest of us we are all gunna continue staying loyal regardless of the dumbass things you write so you might as well not write them

  • max

    What a joke this article is. There is no way barstool gets 1.7 million monthly uniques. Portnoy doesnt even know what monthly uniques means. Compare barstoolsports.com to rollingstone.com and you will see rolling stone has double the traffic.

  • Black

    Yo all you haters need to get off elpres’ balls, haters gonna hate, anyways Davey, can you unblock me bro, i want comment on the boston site, viva la stool and yeah you fat chicks need to lose weight, that is all

  • Yeehaw

    How can you ppl hate on the stool? Dude built a ridiculous following from nothing, so you gotta respect that at least. I don’t see anybody else lighting the world on fire getting articles written about them in Boston Magazine. So all you tightasses out there with no sense of humor hatin on Barstool stick to sippin tea with your pinkies in the air, meanwhile us stoolies will be laughin our asses off over at Barstool and rubbin one out to pics of your daughter. VIVA LA FUCKIN STOOL DICKHEADS

  • a

    David Portnoy is a disgrace to Boston. No better than Michael Jackson with this child porn shit.

  • john

    viva la stool!!

  • vinny

    haters gonna hate, slaters gonna slate

  • Nick

    VIVA LA STOOL!

  • http://twitter.com/theWizzl3 Drew Waggoner

    viva la stool!

  • Eric Randall

    Viva la stool

  • oojr
  • John Lydon
    • John

      More cluelessness from people that don’t know a story from a hole in the wall.

  • Týr

    OH yeah a good media mogul….one who allowed a kid with Cerebral Palsy, who was trying to enjoy a freakin Bruins game with his father, to be turned into a laughing stock on his website….

    • John

      Get a grip and a clue. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Typical.

  • John

    Examples?