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Volume 24 No. 176
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Barstool Sports' Nardini Disappointed By Way Website's Deal With ESPN Ended

Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini was at the center of a controversy between Barstool and ESPN after the network canceled “Barstool Van Talk” in October after just one episode. Speaking on Day 1 of the ’17 Stadium Sports Marketing Symposium, Nardini said, “Barstool is a brand that has a long past. We are from the internet and believe that nothing is sacred. There is a lot of water under that bridge and there’s some water under that bridge with ESPN personalities and Barstool personalities. What I think happened was that the noise around that was a lot and wasn’t what ESPN wanted to do or was looking for.” She added, “I’m absolutely disappointed that the show is not airing. It was an awesome show that would have gotten even better. I am 100% behind Barstool Sports and where we're going and what we’re doing, and I feel stronger about that than ever. This was a very clarifying moment for our audience about who we are and what we stand for and our audience showed up in the same way they showed up to watch our show. Our ratings were pretty incredible for the time slot and being on a secondary network. You’ll see us move forward.” Following the cancellation of the show, Nardini appeared in pictures on social media wearing a T-shirt with the words “ESPN LIES” across it. “There’s some history to that shirt,” Nardini said. “That shirt was created by Barstool during Deflategate and I bought it back then. I’m a Patriots fan, and I thought it was fitting to wear it that week.”

THE BARSTOOL WAY: Nardini said, “Barstool is not for everyone. It is infinitely uncensored and that is part of what makes Barstool so valuable to its audience. I think it's culturally important that brands like Barstool exist.” Nardini noted Barstool Founder & President Dave Portnoy talked a lot about the comments that he made about ESPN’s Sam Ponder back in ‘10. Nardini: “There’s quite a bit of time that has passed from that incident. I don’t think those are words we would use now.” She added, “I can tell you that Barstool is the least sexist company that I have worked for culturally. I stand by the culture we’re creating and the environment that we need to create content.”