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Volume 26 No. 206
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Nardini Sees Continued Growth, Success For Barstool Sports Brand

Nardini said the continued addition of new, humorous talent is key to Barstool's success moving forward
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
Nardini said the continued addition of new, humorous talent is key to Barstool's success moving forward
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
Nardini said the continued addition of new, humorous talent is key to Barstool's success moving forward
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN

Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini discussed the company's past, present and future at the '19 Dealmakers in Sports conference. The brand had a massive following before Nardini joined as CEO in '16, but she laughed while recalling some of the things it lacked from an organizational standpoint. "When I got to Barstool, there was no P&L. They didn't use email," Nardini said. When she was interviewing for the job, employees were living in Boston and Philadelphia at the time. She said she asked one of them when the last time they talked to Barstool Founder Dave Portnoy was. Nardini: "This was in June -- and he was like, 'I got a text message from Dave around Christmas.'" She added, "It's been really cool. There will never be another Barstool Sports. There will never be another ride for me, personally, like this."

I'LL DRINK TO THAT: A recent example of the company's rapid growth and unpredictability is called Pink Whitney. The Barstool vodka brand is named after former NHLer and current "Spittin' Chiclets" podcast host Ryan Whitney, who had revealed that he enjoys vodka mixed with pink lemonade. That revelation, during an ad read for New Amsterdam, led to Barstool's first branded liquor, which has been in high demand. "It's been an awesome partnership," Nardini said. "We're having a lot of issues right now where we can't keep up supply. It's just taken things by storm. It's a good example for us, it's partly what makes Barstool so hard to pin down and define: We're a lifestyle brand. We're a media company. We're going to hopefully be the biggest flavored vodka in the world. You can't plan those things."

LAUGH OUT LOUD: Looking forward, Nardini said that the key to continued expansion will be the addition of new talent. The site will continue to add a variety of contributors as long as they meet one non-negotiable requirement: a good sense of humor. "Where we go is finding new people, new personalities, that bring new audiences with them," she said. "What we want are people who are compelling and funny and driven to be connected with their fans."