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Watch: Barstool Sports CEO Erika Ayers Badan confirms that she is stepping down

Erika Ayers Badan leaving barstool
Thought Leader: Erika Ayers Badan
January 16, 2024
Source: The Street
Ayers Badan was sentimental in a video posted to social media.

Barstool Sports is losing its CEO.

Erika Ayers Badan, the CEO of Barstool Sports posted on X (formerly Twitter) Tuesday, Jan. 16 to confirm the report that she is stepping down from the sports media company.

The news of Ayers Badan’s departure was first reported on Monday night by The New York Post.

Ayers Badan’s nearly three-minute video showed her in New York City on the way to the office where she talked about how she was sentimental about stepping down, but was “so proud” of what she was able to do.

“I’m stepping down as the CEO of Barstool — I feel super sad about it,” Ayers Badan said in her video. “It’s been a wild run. I’m so grateful … What we made of [Barstool] exceeded my wildest expectations.”

Ayers Badan (formerly Nardini) first joined Barstool in 2016 after the company was acquired by The Chernin Group. She, alongside founder Dave Portnoy, steered the company to massive growth including a sale to PENN Entertainment for $500 million. That sale started in 2020 and was completed in Feb. 2023.

Portnoy bought back the company for $1 in August after PENN and ESPN struck a deal on Barstool Sportsbook, which has since been rebranded to ESPN Bet.

Ayers Badan referenced the company’s growth and the major sales as one of the reasons for her leaving.

“Growing a company 5,000% in revenue over eight years is awesome,” Ayers Badan said. “feel like the work I came here to do is done. Everything I could have ever imagined and wanted to achieve, we did.”

She also recognized Portnoy for the opportunity and assured that he would remain in command.

“I feel so good about Dave,” Ayers Badan said. “I trusted him, and I still trust him, and he’s the right person to make this a pirate ship. And I think we went around the sun a bunch, and now it’s back exactly where it should be as it should be.”

Portnoy responded to Ayers Badan with his own post on X, correcting one of the parts of her video where she said that there were “over 70 candidates” for the role in 2016 but was shocked that they chose her. She said she thought maybe nobody else wanted the job and only she did, and Portnoy made sure she knew that wasn’t the case.

“Only correction is everybody wanted the job,” Portnoy wrote. “We just didn’t like anybody except her. There is no doubt @erika_ was the perfect and probably only fit for us. It’s been quite a run and we couldn’t have done it without her. She was everything I dreamed she’d be and more in a CEO.”

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 14: (L-R) Erika Nardini and Sara Fischer speak onstage at Meet the Women Dominating Sports Media during the 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Hilton Austin on March 14, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Shedrick Pelt/Getty Images for SXSW)

Ayers Badan, who aside from her role with Barstool, is a board member for the Premier Lacrosse League, said she’s not fully finished yet helping Portnoy. She also implied that she doesn’t know what she will be doing next yet.

“I’m going to help Dave as long as he needs me,” Ayers Badan said. “I’m going to go try to figure out what I’m going to build and do next.”

Regardless of what she does, she will have the cache from Barstool while also carrying an impressive resume that also includes being a board member for the WWE and experience as an executive at companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL.

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