Barstool Sports CEO joins WWE board

Australian dollars in Sydney, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

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WWE, primarily known for its professional wrestling broadcasts, announced Tuesday that Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini is joining its board.

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Nardini has headed Barstool, a sports and pop culture blog founded by Dave Portnoy, since 2016. She oversaw the partnership with one of Barstool's primary investors, Penn National Gaming, which acquired 36 percent of the company for roughly $163 million in cash earlier this year and launched Barstool Sportsbook.

The deal valued Barstool at $450 million and positioned the casino operator to take a majority stake in the company in the future.

“Erika is a seasoned executive with a tremendous track record of building businesses, developing experiences and engaging different audiences across the media ecosystem,” Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO, 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 has launched more than 35 brands, including breakout franchises in sports, entertainment, female lifestyle, business and sports-betting under Barstool.

She also spearheaded the development of more than 1,500 social accounts, a radio channel on SiriusXM and a flavored vodka in North America called Pink Whitney.

WWE has taken major hits during the coronavirus pandemic, with dozens of employees and talent testing positive for the virus, halting production in the summer.

The media company's shares were down 45% in September from a year earlier, a decline set off by the unexpected ousting of WWE's two co-presidents and board members George Barrios and Michelle Wilson in January.

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