Alex Cooper may have signed a three-year exclusive distribution deal with Spotify, but the Call Her Daddy host remains in business with Barstool Sports. Founder Dave Portnoy says Barstool will continue to handle the podcast’s very lucrative merchandise business. “We are going to work with her with the merch and the unnamed project that will be out within the next year or so,” he said, adding, “This is how every deal should end.”
On The Dave Portnoy Show With Eddie & Co podcast, Portnoy said Tuesday that they had tried to work out a deal to keep Cooper with Barstool Sports but were unable to match what Spotify put on the table. “We wanted to keep her, clearly. She’s a monster. And for that reason, she got big offers from Spotify,” he said, adding, “I believe Alex would have taken a hometown discount to stay with us.”
Terms of Cooper’s agreement with Spotify have not been announced, but the Wall Street Journal reported she will be paid about $20 million a year in an arrangement that covers both new seasons and Call Her Daddy’s back catalogue.
Portnoy said that Barstool Sports could have come close to offering what Spotify will pay Cooper, but it would have been a financial risk for the company. “We would have had to be sold out and Call Her Daddy would have had to have been killing it,” he said. “We would have had to play perfectly for three years to justify that, and it was a huge risk.” As for the merchandising arrangement, he added, “That’s where the money is anyway.”
The merchandising deal gives Cooper a bigger part of the split than Barstool, but Portnoy said he was happy it does not include any revenue guarantees.
It is a much different situation than last spring when Cooper and former co-host Sofia Franklyn stopped recording shows as they attempted to renegotiate their deal with Barstool Sports after just one year into their three-year deal. The back and forth went public and eventually led Franklyn to leave the show and Cooper and Portnoy to rework their deal.
“I think she was thankful that we helped her, and the relationship was mended,” said Portnoy, who said he believes Cooper keeping her ties to Barstool is proof of that. “This is the nature of the beast. You sign somebody who is unknown, she explodes – it’s no different than an athlete contract. It obviously got hairy when we had that blow up. She was always going to make millions – she was that big. She has Rogan-esque numbers.”
Call Her Daddy was the fifth most listened-to show in both April and May according to Podtrac. And Spotify says the podcast is also the second most popular female-created podcast globally on its app thanks to Gen Z and millennial listeners.
The loss of Call Her Daddy will nevertheless hit Barstool’s bottom line since it was by far the biggest podcast revenue generator for the company. Portnoy said CEO Erika Nardini is looking at trimming some expenses as a result.
Still, Barstool does not plan to launch a new female-focused sex-charged show along the lines of Call Her Daddy, said Portnoy, who noted that much of the company’s focus is now on the gaming industry. “That’s not something you can just replace,” he said.