Why Did Erika Ayers Badan Leave Barstool Sports? — "I Gave It My All"

Melissa Willets - Author

Jan. 17 2024, Published 10:14 a.m. ET

Erika Ayers Badan at Sportico Influence 2023 held at @Ease 605 on December 5, 2023 in New York
Source: Getty Images

Big changes are coming for the irreverent brand Barstool Sports.

The company's first CEO, Erika Ayers Badan, has resigned as of January 2024. So why did the leader decide to go in a new direction?

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Erika officially stepped down after rumors began circulating that she was parting ways with Barstool Sports. She is speaking out about the choice, which comes at an interesting time for Barstool.

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So, why did Erika leave Barstool Sports?

As fans know, the company's founder, Dave Portnoy, reacquired the site in the summer of 2023 from Penn Entertainment, per Variety.

That move was not without controversy, considering that Dave is a very polarizing figure. Not only do his oftentimes rude statements offend many, but on a much more serious note, the founder was previously accused of sexual misconduct, according to Eater.

But according to Erika, any issues surrounding Dave are not behind her decision to step down — in fact, quite the opposite, as she feels the company is now headed in the right direction after years of instability.

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“The last two years was all Penn all the time," she wrote in a letter to staffers, per Variety. "It was a balancing act and kind of an exercise in futility — trying to generate bets at the same time as protecting a pirate ship while also subtly contorting it to be something more predictable, pacifiable and projectable to match with a casino company."

"In the last year we sold the company twice. First to Penn for $550 million and then to Dave for $1. It seems insane and it was," she continued, adding, “A pirate ship with Dave at the helm… I did what I came here to do and more than I could have ever imagined and now it’s your turn to take it forward.”

Erika then thanked her co-workers, the so-called Stoolies, for her time there.

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Dave Portnoy thinks Erika was the "only fit" for Barstool Sports.

Dave took to X to express his feelings about his CEO leaving the company shortly after the news was made public.

"We just didn't like anybody except her," he tweeted, after claiming everyone wanted her job. "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."

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So who will replace Erika as CEO of the company following her departure? At time of writing, there has been no significant chatter about this, nor do we know what Erika will be doing in the future.

But it's worth noting that Erika doesn't really need to do anything from here.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, the businesswoman and first-ever CEO of Barstool has amassed a net worth of $12 million. So, it's safe to say that if she wants to take a beat and think about what she wants to do next, she has a financial cushion to fall back on.

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