How Barstool Sportsbook Dominated App Store Rankings In Its First Week

Sports betting exploded after the Supreme Court legalized it in 2018. Newly unencumbered by federal law, states subsequently created multi-million dollar sports betting industries within months. Accordingly, sportsbook apps became fixtures near the top of the Apple App Store’s charts. Some of them even rose to the very top of the rankings.

In late September, Barstool Sportsbook oscillated between the top three spots on the App Store’s sports category. It was briefly the number one app in the App Store’s sports category. But a few of its biggest competitors rank highly, too. Here’s how they rank against each other and who to watch over the next few months.

Barstool Sportsbook Against Other Popular Sportsbooks

 9/19 App Store Ranking 9/20 Sunday App Store Ranking App Rating
Barstool Sportsbook134.9
DraftKings784.8
FanDuel10104.7
theScore Bet921064.5
William Hill108794.5
BetMGMUnrankedUnranked4.8
Fox BetVariedUnranked3.2
SBKUnrankedUnranked4.0
Circa SportsUnrankedUnranked3.7
Betfred SportsUnrankedUnranked4.7
BetRiversUnrankedUnrankedN/A - Too few reviews

Why Barstool Sportsbook Is Ranked So High

Apple’s app rankings aren’t on a public spreadsheet for app developers to leverage. It wants its app developers to make great products and earn their way to the top. But there are a few things the best apps have in common: they make themselves all about their users. That means that great apps have many users who:

  • Download the app
  • Use the app consistently
  • Rate it well on the app store

Apple has always put their users at the center of their products, and the App Store is no different. We’ll never know everything that Apple uses to rank its apps in each category. But the best apps are the most customer-centric apps on the app store.

How Barstool Sports Likely Feeds Barstool Sportsbook

Barstool Sportsbook comes with a dedicated fanbase, a massive media presence, and unapologetic commentary. Its brash and controversial CEO, David Portnoy, is vehemently anti-PC culture. His public persona and content fire up his fanbase, and it seems that Barstool Sports funneled many of them to Barstool Sportsbook.

Barstool Sportsbook topped the App Store charts within a week of its Pennsylvania launch, with Portnoy himself ginning up the user base to help its ranking on Twitter. Less than a week in, it had a 4.9 rating and over 1,600 ratings. Some of the five-star reviews name Barstool Sports personalities the reviewers fawn over. The app itself looks like many other sportsbook apps. But its most fervent fans gave it some serious love that’s critical early on.

DraftKings And FanDuel

DraftKings and FanDuel are long-time competitors. Their expansion from fantasy sports to sports betting is no exception. DraftKings has over 100,000 reviews and FanDuel has more than 73,000. They’re both among the highest-rated sportsbook apps, dominating the stiff competition.

Since they’re among the most recognizable fantasy sports brands, it’s unsurprising to see them doing so well. DraftKings and FanDuel were among the first sportsbooks in several states, and they had many users to pull from their fantasy platforms. Many fantasy players were probably drawn to sports betting, anyway. These two are examples of where Barstool Sportsbook could go over the next few months.

theScore Bet And William Hill

theScore Bet and William Hill switched places on the App Store while I wrote this article. William Hill jumped from 108 in the sports category to 79. theScore dropped from 92 to 106. All that happened from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon.

Neither app changed in the 19 hours between rank changes. App Store rankings are just that volatile. Multiple analyses from the techie corner of the blogosphere have the data to back it up. Volatility varies by category, but app rankings move often. theScore Bet and William Hill are still being reviewed by the mass of sports bettors deciding on their favorite apps. By the Monday this is published, those rankings will probably change again. But it’ll be interesting to see where steady rankings land.

Fox Bet’s Many Faces

Fox Bet is the last major sportsbook with App Store rankings that make it relevant. However, it has different apps for each state, and those rankings vary wildly. Fox Bet Sportsbook and Casino in Pennsylvania is ranked 59 in the sports category and rated a 4.6 with over 2,700 reviews. Fox Bet Sportsbook in Colorado is 193 in sports and rated 3.2 with 19 reviews.

The number of reviews factors into both app’s ratings. But there are common frustrations concerning welcome bonuses and withdrawals that plague the Fox Bet apps. Fox Bet offers a risk-free bet that’s only good for the first bet. That often takes bettors off guard and leads to some nasty reviews. Negative reviews also cite withdrawal issues. It’s common for sportsbooks to keep withdrawals once they’re made, which draws bettors’ ire.

Interestingly, Barstool Sportsbook’s negative reviews share some of these gripes. But their reviewers came out in favor of them. Barstool Sportsbook’s most positive reviews include experiences with customer support. While Barstool Sports’ user base came out for them, it doesn’t look Fox Bet’s backed them. Fox Bet and Barstool Sports have similar media platforms. They both leverage commentator personalities to drive traffic to their sportsbooks.

But Fox Bet doesn’t have the dramatic love for their brand and commentators that Barstool Sports enjoys.

That may be because of the inherent loyalty in Barstool Bet’s anti-PC stance. Anti-PC folks are a tight-knit group who can style themselves as an oppressed minority or the silent majority. While Barstool Sports’ commentary can be alienating, its culture forges powerful bonds with its users and thrives in its niche. Barstool Sportsbooks isn’t that different from the Fox Bet apps. But Barstool Sports’ user loyalty sets it apart from every other sportsbook.

Sportsbooks Across The Sports Category

The highest-ranked sportsbooks in the app store had existing customers who were sent to the sportsbooks. It’s a massive advantage in a young, growing, and competitive industry. Barstool Sportsbook seems to have leveraged this the best, but DraftKings and FanDuel seem to have done it too.

theScore is also a media company that came out with a sportsbook, and it’s highly rated with less than 1,000 reviews. It’s probably influenced its rankings, but it falls behind Barstool Sportsbook’s fervent crowd, too.

William Hill has its existing sportsbook to propel it into the App Store rankings. It’s well-known for its kiosks, and its mobile option was likely enticing to existing bettors.

It’s not a coincidence that the highest-ranked sportsbook had a pool of bettors to pull from. It gave them a head start when they launched. Among the highest-ranked sportsbooks, Barstool Sportsbook seems to have the most enthusiastic customer base. Barstool Sportsbook’s meteoric rise through the App Store has been stunning. Time will tell whether the other media sportsbooks engage their bases the way Barstool Sportsbook has. But competitors have a high bar to clear to compete with the newest media giant in the sports betting game.

About the Author

Chris Gerlacher

Christopher is a sports betting enthusiast and online gaming expert from Colorado Springs.