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.