Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy released a video backing a new ETF designed to track Reddit-driven social-media buzz

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy released a video backing a new ETF designed to track Reddit-driven social-media buzz

In a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday, the Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy promoted an exchange-traded fund set to launch on the New York Stock Exchange this Thursday.

The VanEck Vectors Social Sentiment ETF is designed to track sentiment on platforms like Reddit, StockTwits, and Twitter to fuel its holdings. The ETF will trade under the ticker symbol BUZZ.

"There is a new ETF launching that I'm a part of, that I'm putting my face behind, my reputation behind," Portnoy said in the video. Portnoy added that he had been "approached by these guys who built an algorithm" that "lingered" and "did its thing" for years.

That algorithm is the Buzz NextGen AI US Sentiment Leaders Index, developed by Periscope Capital in 2015.

After COVID-19, "the amount of chatter on the internet about stocks exploded," Portnoy said, adding that he was approached after Penn National Gaming, a casino company that he had partnered with to launch a sports-betting app, "showed up in their ranking."


The ETF is designed to use alternative data about stocks scraped from social-media posts, news articles, and blog posts that is then filtered through an analytical system to help determine whether the sentiment is positive or negative. The ETF will include 75 US stocks with a market capitalization of more than $5 billion, and it is set to be rebalanced monthly.

"BUZZ empowers individual investors to potentially benefit from the predictive insights gained by measuring the collective convictions about stocks, ultimately building the benchmark for social sentiment," Ed Lopez, a managing director at VanEck, said in a press release.

In an emailed statement to Insider, VanEck added: "David Portnoy is a shareholder of BUZZ Holdings, ULC, the parent company of the BUZZ NextGen AI US Sentiment Leaders Index. He represents the Index and has no affiliation with VanEck. He does not provide investment advice on behalf of VanEck. There is no affiliation with VanEck and Barstool Sports."

From his criticism of Warren Buffett's decision to sell airline stocks to his recent interview with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev, Portnoy has made waves in the investment world as he periodically broadcasts to his millions of followers the moves he's making in the stock market.

A similar social-media-insight ETF from Sprott Asset Management launched in 2016 but closed three years later after failing to attract enough assets.


The environment for a social-media ETF may be better today than it was then. New investors flooded the stock market during the COVID-19 pandemic, and forums like Reddit's Wall Street Bets helped to spark an epic short squeeze in shares of GameStop earlier this year.

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: These 40 heavily shorted stocks could be the next GameStop if retail traders target them - and the group has already nearly doubled over the past 3 months