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Barstool Sports CEO Erika Ayers Badan is Heading for the Exits

EAB Leaving Barstool
Thought Leader: Erika Ayers Badan
January 16, 2024
Source: Sportico

After a seven-and-a-half-year stint as CEO of Barstool SportsErika Ayers Badan is leaving the company.

“I’m stepping down as the CEO of Barstool,” Ayers Badan announced Tuesday morning, in a video posted to her X account. “I feel super sad about it. … But it’s been a wild run!”

The clip, which features the 48-year-old exec walking through Chelsea on the way to Barstool’s Seventh Ave. HQ, was posted several hours after the New York Post broke the story about her imminent departure.

“What we made of [Barstool] exceeded my wildest expectations, and I’m so proud,” Ayers Badan said, as she looked back on her tenure at the digital disruptor. “We grew the company into something I don’t think anybody ever thought possible or probable. I think the expectation or desire that Barstool would fail were really high, and I think we defied that. And I’m so proud about not just what we built, but [that] we did it in our own way and in our own style.”

Ayers Badan joined the company in July 2016, not long after it had been acquired by the Chernin Group in a deal that Barstool founder Dave Portnoy said was valued at between $10 million and $15 million. She came to the site from AOL, where she had served as chief marketing officer.

The departing exec revealed that she had beaten out 70 other candidates for the top Barstool post.

During Ayers Badan’s tenure, Barstool was acquired by PENN Entertainment for some $550 million. Last summer, Portnoy bought back the company for $1. Portnoy launched Barstool as a free weekly print publication in the Boston exurb of Milton, Mass., back in 2003.

“Growing a company 5,000% in revenue over eight years is awesome, I think,” Ayers Badan said. “The audience grew even more than that.”

After Penn parted ways with Barstool, it joined forces with Disney to power the ESPN Bet sportsbook, which is now licensed to do business in 17 states.

While she did not provide her 240,000+ followers guidance as to what will come next for her, Ayers Badan said, “I feel like the work that I came here to do is done. I’m so proud of it: Everything I could have imagined and wanted to achieve, we did.”

The exec signed off by saying that she would continue to assist Portnoy “for as long as he needs me,” before adding that she would then try to “figure out what I want to build and do next.”

As was reported last fall, Macmillan in June will release a non-fiction book penned by Ayers Badan. Titled Nobody Cares About Your Career, the release will not only provide an insider’s account of the Barstool Sports experience, but will give young office-drones-in-training advice on how to get ahead in the corporate world.

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