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Volume 20 No. 42
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Erika Nardini, Barstool Sports


arstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini was speaking at the Jeffrey Moorad Sports Law Journal Symposium on Villanova’s campus in April. It was a sober, business-focused conference, and Nardini was speaking on a panel with top executives from ESPN, MLS and Sports Illustrated. A group of Barstool fans sat in the audience, waving Barstool flags and wearing Barstool apparel. At the end of the session, they rushed the stage to meet Nardini, some asked for her autograph. It was the type of scene that never happens at sports business conferences.

“The thing that is so special about Barstool is that they wear it, they talk it, they share it, they live it,” Nardini said. “It’s really deep. It’s not just a media brand to them. It’s a lifestyle. It’s an anthem.”

Erika Nardini
Barstool Sports // CEO
Nardini joined Barstool a little more than a year ago to grow the company from being a regional brand with a cult following into a national brand with multiple revenue streams.

“When I got to Barstool there were 16 people and very few business people,” Nardini said. “We didn’t have a product team. We didn’t have a commerce team. We didn’t have the depth and breadth of creative talent that we have now. We didn’t have a production team. I’m most proud of building something around the nucleus of Barstool, which is really great and funny talent. We are now building bridges to distribution.”

— John Ourand

  • Where born: Denver.
  • Education: Colby College, B.A.
  • Attributes I look for when hiring: I’ve been taking some heat for this of late. In general, I tend to look for people with initiative and who have worked hard to establish a distinct set of skills.
  • Networking tip I’ve learned: Network with purpose and follow up quickly.
  • Best advice I’ve received for career development: If you’re going to ask someone to do work, be able to do that work yourself.
  •  Sports business industry can foster a healthier work-life balance by: Do men get asked this question?
  •  If I had it to do over again, I would: Have been more entrepreneurial earlier in my career.
  •  Woman in sports business I’d most like to meet: Jeanie Buss and Stephanie McMahon.
  • Is discussion about challenges women face working in sports necessary or played out? I’m new to the sports business so I’m not sure I’m the best judge. I can tell you that the number of choices I had in looking up women who I would want to meet versus men was fractional, so no, I wouldn’t say it’s anywhere near played out.
  • Charities supported: Seas It (Cancer Recovery Through Recreation), dZi Foundation.