Barstool Sports Founder Mocks Westgate’s Cease and Desist Letter

  • Westgate says Barstool infringed on its “GOOD TEAMS WIN, GREAT TEAMS COVER” trademark
  • Westgate has owned the trademark since 2012
  • Barstool Sports ignored an initial June 2020 cease and desist letter
  • The Westgate Superbook, opened in 1986, is one of the world’s best-known sportsbooks
  • Barstool partnered with Penn National last year to launch retail and online sportsbooks
Westgate Las Vegas Resort
Westgate Las Vegas Resort has accused Barstool Sports of trademark infringement, which prompted Barstool founder Dave Portnoy to post and mock a cease and desist letter on Twitter. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Westgate claims trademark infringement

The old guard has taken aim at the new kid on the block, as the Westgate Las Vegas Resort has sent a cease and desist letter to Barstool Sports over alleged trademark infringement. According to the letter, penned by the law firm Greenspoon Marder, it is the second time Westgate has contacted Barstool about the matter.

Though this second letter is dated January 12, 2021, it did not become public knowledge until Wednesday, when Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy tweeted a copy of the first page:

The point of contention is Barstool’s use of the catchphrase “GOOD TEAMS WIN, GREAT TEAMS COVER.” While it is not an uncommon sports hype slogan, the Westgate Las Vegas Resort does own the trademark on it. The original filing date for the trademark was September 5, 2008 by Colony Resorts LVH Acquisitions – Colony Capital was a previous owner of the Westgate – and the mark was officially registered on April 24, 2012.

Barstool Sports owner couldn’t care less

Portnoy, being the brash, “I got mine” type of businessman he is, was completely dismissive of Westgate in his tweet, seemingly eager to get into a legal brawl.

“Nothing makes me more confident,” he wrote, “[than] when other gambling companies like @WestgateVegas start sending us cease and desists for us tweeting ‘good teams win, great teams cover.’”

He added that he doubts Westgate invented the phrase, though that may not really matter, considering Westgate does have the slogan trademarked.

In the letter, Westgate, operator of the legendary Superbook sportsbook, said that because Barstool refused to respond to the first letter back in June 2020, resulting in this second letter, the implication is that Barstool knows that it is infringing on Westgate’s trademark.

an intentional effort to trade on the goodwill associated with Westgate’s … mark”

“This is the second time we have had to contact you, which is evidence that your conduct is willful,” Westgate wrote. “This use of ‘Good teams win, great teams cover,’ after a priori warning is an intentional effort to trade on the goodwill associated with Westgate’s ‘Good teams win, great teams cover,’ mark.”

Vegas mainstay versus young upstart

The Westgate Superbook is arguably the best-known sportsbook in the United States and is billed as the largest in the world. It opened in 1986, when the hotel-casino was the Las Vegas Hilton, at a cost of $17m.

Since the year 2000, the Westgate Superbook has hosted the most famous sports betting competition in the world, the Westgate Resorts Supercontest. It is as fairly simple competition. For a $1,500 entry fee, participants pick five NFL games against the spread each week. Wins award one point, pushes award half a point, and the overall points leader at the end of the regular season takes home first prize.

The 2020 edition of the Supercontest lagged behind previous years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It fielded 1,172 entries, with the professional poker duo of David Baker and Mark Gregorich taking the championship and $435,623.20. Compare that to the 2019 Supercontest, which had 3,329 entries and a $1,469,644.80 first prize, and was won by Eric Jensen and Matt Kucera.

Barstool Sports started as a sports media company, but has plans to become a major player in the US sports betting industry, thanks to a $163m partnership with Penn National Gaming in January 2020 in which Penn acquired a 36% stake in Barstool.

Since then, Penn National has opened Barstool-branded retail sportsbooks in Colorado, Indiana, and Michigan. Barstool’s sports betting app is also live in Pennsylvania. The company plans to launch its app in Illinois next and at least ten states in total this year.