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Erika Ayers Badan Keynote and Public Speaking

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Erika Ayers Badan

Marketing and Advertising Powerhouse; Former CEO of Barstool Sports; One of Forbes' Most Powerful Women in Sports

Ranked one of the most influential executives in digital innovation, sports, entertainment, and lifestyle media, Erika Ayers Badan is the former CEO of Barstool Sports. During her tenure at Barstool from 2016 to 2024, Erika transformed the organization from a regional blog to a national powerhouse operation leading to a 5,000% increase in overall revenue, making it one of the most innovative and successful internet media brands. Before joining Barstool, Ayers Badan held several leadership positions in media and technology at Microsoft, AOL, Demand Media, and Yahoo. She has been extensively recognized for her innovation in the industry, including being named one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women in Sports amongst other achievements.

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Who better to take advice from than the CEO who grew a company’s revenue 5,000% in under eight years? During her tenure at Barstool Sports, Erika Ayers Badan oversaw the company’s expansion into multimedia, merchandising, streaming, and pay-per-view programming. The workforce also grew at an exponential rate. That’s a lot of growth in a short time. Erika can offer audiences and leadership teams practical insights as to how she did this for Barstool with proven strategies as takeaways.

“I don’t think about my gender at work.” That’s what Erika Ayers Badan replied when Barbara Corcoran asked her, “What’s it like working with all those boys?”

Barstool Sports, known for its sports journalism, pop culture content, —and sure, its raunchy humor—made headlines when they hired a female CEO to run and grow the company in 2016. Few CEOs can say they’ve achieved as much as Erika Ayers Badan when tasked with the same growth and revenue objectives. So, does gender play a role in success?

In this interesting and entertaining address, Erika Ayers Badan draws upon her several leadership positions in media and technology at Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, and of course, Barstool Sports. She reveals her observations, addresses misconceptions, and reveals humorous anecdotes about men and women in the workforce. This speech is suited for all genders and will leave women, in particular, feeling inspired and ready to take their careers to the next level.

Erika Ayers Badan calls herself a “token CEO”—while in reality she’s anything but: after traditional marketing jobs at Microsoft and AOL, she took a rough-and-tumble sports and betting brand and turned it into a $550 million juggernaut with more than 5 billion monthly video views and 225 million followers. With Erika, smart media is always in the mix and her recipe has proven its worth in spades (or 5,000% in revenue, if that’s what gets the point across). No one is better equipped to enlighten a team with practical takeaways for success. If your audience or leadership team have a common goal—to take your organization to the next level—Erika Ayers Badan can help.

“It’s about making your own luck at work—because if you don’t care, nobody else will.”

Erika Ayers Badan believes a rich and fulfilling career is the gateway to a rich and fulfilling life. This talk correlates to her book, Nobody Cares About Your Career (June 2023). In this motivational speech, Ayers Badan seeks to empower all generations of the workforce to do and be their best at work. It’s about being yourself and being successful; neither you nor work is perfect, but you can both be great. Upon request, this talk can include a book order and signing.

Biography

Erika Ayers Badan is an American businesswoman and former CEO of the digital media company Barstool Sports.

Her highly anticipated book, Nobody Cares About Your Career: Why Failure Is Good, The Great Ones Play Hurt and Other Hard Truths publishes in June of 2024.

Ayers Badan was named Barstool’s CEO in 2016 and oversaw the company’s expansion into multimedia, merchandising, streaming, and pay-per-view programming. The company’s expansion into pay-per-view included the acquisition of amateur boxing league Rough N’ Rowdy in 2017. Under her leadership, Barstool Sports’ $15 million valuation in 2016 grew $30 million after just one year, and then to $450 million in 2020. As of her resignation in January 2024, the company’s revenue had grown 5,000% since she first assumed the role.

Following Barstool’s exponential growth, Fast Company named Ayers Badan as one of its “Most Creative People in Business” in 2018, citing Barstool Sports’ expansion into multimedia and merchandising during her tenure. That same year, Forbes ranked her 25th on its “Most Powerful Women in U.S. Sports.” In 2019, she was ranked #19 on The Big Lead’s list of “The 75 Most Powerful People in the Sports Media Business.” That year, she was also included on Crain’s New York’s “Notable Women in the Business of Sports.Adweek named Ayers as one of its “Most Powerful Women in Sports” in 2017 and 2020.

In 2022, under Erika’s leadership, Barstool Sports progressed more into live sports and streaming by hosting and broadcasting its first College Basketball Invitational and the first Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. In the same year, Barstool Sports also launched its NIL marketplace platform, TwoYay, which connects college athletes directly to advertisers.

Ayers Badan currently serves on the boards of Food52, a service that connects a global community of expert and amateur chefs; Axon, a company committed to public safety technology, training, and software; and Premiere Lacrosse League. She has previously been on the board of directors for World Wrestling Entertainment and Torchy’s Tacos.

From 2020 to 2023, Ayers Badan hosted the podcast Token CEO about business and sports news. She is also a frequent public speaker and has given talks at the Milken Institute, CAA World Congress, the MIT Sloan Sports Conference, the SALT Conference, G2E Las Vegas, and many other events.

Ayers Badan began her career working at Fidelity Investments. Prior to Barstool, she held executive marketing positions at Demand Media, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Colby College in Maine.

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"There is no doubt Erika was the perfect and probably only fit for [Barstool Sports]. 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.”

Dave Portnoy, Founder of Barstool Sports

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