Reading Terminal Market gets big boost from Barstool Sports, Penn National Gaming

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia community is coming to the aid of the Reading Terminal Market as the iconic landmark works to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Market, which has operated continuously since 1893, has, like many businesses, been flipped upside down since March.

A new GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign is a first for the non-profit market. The campaign aims to keep the dozens of vendors afloat during this uncertain time.

READ MORE: Reading Terminal Market launches crowdfunding campaign to stay open, thriving amid COVID-19

The campaign was launched on October 7 and quickly spawned donations and a flurry of worries about losing the historical hotspot known for its local grub from more than 80 vendors.

"Ultimately what the campaign is about is our ability to operate for the next few months. Because again, there's just so much uncertainty with COVID, and it's very unpredictable what's going to happen," said general manager Conor Murphy.

But this week, the crowdfunding campaign got the attention of Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, a company that recently launched a sports betting app here in Philadelphia.



Portnoy, who now lives in the city, took to Twitter telling fans that for every $100 deposit from new users on the app, Penn National Gaming, which owns a 36% share of Barstool Sports, would match the $100 to effectively help Reading Terminal Market reach its goal of $250,000.

"We are proud to support this historic institution, one of America's largest and oldest public markets," said Jay Snowden, President and CEO of Penn National Gaming. "When Dave Portnoy first suggested the idea, we jumped at the chance to work together to help save this beloved icon in the heart of Philadelphia."

Portnoy also said he would donate $50,000 of his own money to fuel the worthy cause.

Entrepreneur Jeff Bartos with nonprofit Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund says his organization will match Penn National's donations of up to $100,000. The nonprofit has raised over $2.5 million and helped over 630 businesses impacted by the coronavirus.



"Good news. We have hit our goal for (Reading Terminal Market). Go fund me goal hit. #flyeaglesfly," Portnoy announced late Thursday night.



Murphy told Action News he learned about the generous offer on Wednesday and was humbled by the outpouring of support less than 24 hours later.

"We're very honored and we're very thankful to Dave, to Penn Gaming and obviously to the 4,000 people on GoFundMe, as well," said Murphy. "I think what it does is it provides a lot of hope to all the merchants and the employees, and it also, I think,was a great boost to them. In a city of, you know, of brotherly love and sisterly affection, I think that this is a perfect example of that."



And to those worrying that the city could lose its beloved Reading Terminal Market, don't worry.

"The Terminal is certainly going nowhere. We've been here 128 years and the plan very much is to be here for 128 more," said Murphy.

The Terminal GoFundMe donations have surged to over $172,700 to date, without the donations from Barstool, Penn National and PA 30 Day Fund.

According to Portnoy, roughly $250,000 was raised on Thursday night.

Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.