One of the big news items of 2020 has been the sale of a portion of Barstool Sports to Penn National Gaming.
At SBC Digital Summit: North America our US VP Sue Schneider sat down to talk with Erika Nardini (CEO since 2016) about how to grow a business, what the Penn National deal means to Barstool Sports, the merging of company cultures, and attracting new casual bettors.
When asked on how the two companies’ cultures will mix together Nardini reflected: “The cultures are different, but Penn and Barstool are both underdog companies. At Barstool we have gotten to where we are by virtue of our own grit, our smarts and determination. We are hungry to try new things. We sometimes fail but we get up and try again.
“From my observations, Penn is the same, it is a self-made company that knows it has to embrace the future. Jay is thinking about what is next for casinos and sportsbooks.
“They are interested in getting more digital, whilst we are trying to get physical. Some might look at it as a culture clash, but I believe that you have two groups that care about the customer, care about their brands, their consumer connection but are not afraid to shake things up”.
Discussing the transferal of the business into a highly regulated market, Nardini explained that: “Even before the Penn partnership, we started to look at how we would need to change in light of market developments – what is the compliance we need to introduce, what are the safeguards and protocols and who do we need to hire?”
When the conversation moved to casual customer segments, Nardini believes women have been overlooked as casual bettors: “There is no reason that you can’t ignite betting amongst women, but you have to do it the right way. It has to be compelling and honest. I have seen this in the last year. There are a lot of things that are esoteric and insular about betting, factors which need to be made digestible so people can have fun.”
To see the full panel session click here.