June 23, 2020
While the coronavirus pandemic forced many media companies to slow down production and forced athletics to grind to a halt, Barstool Sports adapted and CEO Erika Nardini says the company was able to capitalize on a slew of non-sports-related content.
Now Barstool Sports' priority is to show buyers at the company's first appearance at the NewFronts marketing conference that it can still be profitable even without the return of North American pro leagues.
"We wanted to show, not only the showcasing of what we're creating -- so, all of the brands we're developing and running -- but also how we're performing for advertisers," she said.
Barstool's success during the shutdowns, Nardini explained, is not only attributable to the team's ability to "create content that's authentic" but also its commitment to creating content that fans want to engage with.
"We're building some of, if not, the very biggest brands on the internet," she said. "I think that during quarantine, most media companies stopped making content. They either had production challenges, they weren't able to gather in studios. We took the opposite approach."
Barstool's growth on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram has also allowed the company's "brands the ability to play ball with those audiences" where they otherwise might not have had access, according to the CEO.
"Every single brand that's created at Barstool is programmed and produced for the internet, which means that we naturally attract what you would call 'young viewers,'" she said.
Even with the success of the non-sports content, Nardini said the company will not abandon its newfound format despite the imminent return of the pros, but will instead marry the new content with Barstool's core programs.
"What we've found is when you have eyes for the internet, and you're making content for the internet, that stuff can last," she noted.