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erika nardini dave partnowDave Partnoy and Erika Nardini Barstool Sports

  • Barstool Sports has tapped sports marketing veteran Deirdre Lester as its first Chief Revenue Officer.
  • Lester will oversee advertising, revenue and brand partnerships and also look for new ways to monetize the Barstool platform and its brand partners.

At a time when advertisers are increasingly worried about what kind of environment their digital ads might end up in, Barstool Sports isn’t typically seen as a safe bet. The men sports and lifestyle publisher has been called everything from bro-ey and misogynistic, to plain crude.

But that’s not a concern for the company, according to CEO Erika Nardini, given many marketers’ need to connect with Barstool’s hard to reach audience. To help, the publisher has appointed Deirdre Lester as the its first Chief Revenue Officer.

“Our tone, voice and perspective is definitely not for everyone,” Nardini told Business Insider. “But if you are a brand looking to break through and resonate with young men in particular, there is no place more authentic than here and no person better than Dierdre to help you do that.”

dierdreDeirdre Lester, Barstool Sports’ incoming Chief Revenue Officer Barstool Sports

Barstool has tapped Lester to oversee advertising, revenue and brand partnerships. She will look to expand and diversify current partnerships and revenue streams — from advertising to merchandizing — and also seek new ways to monetize the Barstool platform and its brand partners.

At a time when digital media is facing serious challenges, Barstool has done well to focus on a diverse revenue stack as compared to a model solely dependent on advertising. Blending content and commerce business has been a significant focus, with merchandise sales growing 400 percent year-over-year, according to the company, making it the fastest growing part of the business.

Lester comes to Barstool after four years at Whistle Sports, where she served as EVP and Global Head of Brand Partnerships. Overseeing a team of nearly 30 employees at Whistle, she helped grow the company’s advertiser portfolio to include Macy’s and Amazon among others. 

She has a longstanding sports and digital media background, logging stints at ESPN,, Yahoo Sports, and Major League Baseball.

“We’re one of the fastest growing and most dynamic media and consumer brands,” Nardini told Business Insider. “She is someone that can take everything we’re doing — from podcasts and viral videos to events — and create opportunities for brands in all those environments.”

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