It’s a high-profile placement for Nardini, who has led Barstool since 2016 and currently sits on advisory boards for the recipe website Food52 and the Premier Lacrosse League. She’ll be the third woman on the WWE board, joining Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon and Laureen Ong, the former president of the Travel Channel.
“Erika is a seasoned executive with a tremendous track record of building businesses, developing experiences, and engaging different audiences across the media ecosystem,” WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement. “Her entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and understanding of today’s consumers will serve as a perfect addition to our Board of Directors.”
Nardini was named Barstool’s first-ever CEO in 2016 as the Chernin Group-backed media organization was rapidly expanding its reach and influence. Under her direction, the company’s business has diversified– in addition to its written content, Barstool boasts a strong network of podcasts, plus a merchandise business, an amateur boxing promotion, and a number of other brands.
Nardini, whose career includes stops at Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo, recently oversaw Barstool’s strategic partnership with Penn National Gaming. The gambling operator bought 36% of the company at a $450 million valuation which included the launch of the Barstool Sportsbook. The app went live in Pennsylvania in September, and is expected to launch in more states in the coming months.
Based in Stamford, Conn., World Wrestling Entertainment is both a wrestling promoter and media company. Led by Vince McMahon, the company puts on events like Raw and SmackDown and owns WWE Network, a streaming platform that has a library of old shows, plus live pay-per-view events. Its stock is down roughly 40% on the year, a mix of COVID-19 impact, a dip in WWE Network subscribers and a surprise executive shake-up in January.