Barstool Sports Gets $15M Influx From Chernin Group; Plans New Properties, More Hiring
Barstool Sports has raised an additional $15M from majority owner Chernin Group, and Barstool Founder & President Dave Portnoy said that the brand "plans to use the funding to create new properties -- like branded alcohol or even its own bar -- and expand Rough N Rowdy, an amateur-boxing promoter it recently acquired," according to Gerry Smith of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Barstool also "plans to roughly double its staff to 160 by hiring more writers, video producers and podcast hosts." Barstool CEO Erika Nardini said that the company "plans to start selling subscriptions to fans who want exclusive content tied to its podcasts or online Q&As with talent and personalities." Portnoy said that the new funding "gives us the freedom to follow our instincts." Portnoy added that he "wants the company to be valued at $250 million in the next three to five years." Chernin Group President of Digital Mike Kerns said of Barstool, "The company has far exceeded our plans and all our models. There are a lot more areas we need to invest in." Kerns added that Barstool will "probably enter new lines of business through acquisitions" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/23).
KEEPING IT REAL: Portnoy and Nardini appeared on CNBC’s “Mad Money” last night, and host Jim Cramer said Barstool Sports is “perhaps the most fun site you’re ever going to go to, even as they are totally on the edge.” Portnoy said the site’s success is due to the “authenticity of what we bring to the table." Nardini: “Barstool to me is what guys say, it’s how they think, it’s how they talk, it’s what they love.” She added, “People love us, they hate us, but you have to respect what we’ve built.” Nardini said some advertisers and sponsors are still "afraid” to be involved with Barstool, but the “ones who play with us and the ones who get involved break through.” Portnoy: "You can’t argue with the results.” Nardini said, "We are a big media company, and because we have a loyal audience, ... there’s nothing that this company can't do" ("Mad Money," CNBC, 1/23).