Barstool Sports chopped one-fourth of its employees, a development that comes after founder David Portnoy re-bought 100% of the company and after its deal with Penn Entertainment ended. Portnoy followed up the layofs with a YouTube video, responding in a video conversation entitled, “My Perspective On Today’s Layoffs At Barstool.”
“Over the years we’ve hired and trained the best of the best. It’s sad we have to let some of those people go,” Barstool Sports CEO Erika Ayers Badan said in an X (formerly Twitter) post on Thursday, announcing the layoffs.
She also pushed for companies to consider the laid-off staff as potential employees. “I urge any company that can hire them to do so. They’re all-stars.”
The 25% of Barstool’s workforce that was let go, according to the New York Post, consisted of about 430 staffers. The cutbacks could be a result of Barstool’s $16.1 million-loss that happened in the first six months of 2023 after Penn Entertainment bought Barstool for a whopping $500 million. Portnoy bought the brand back for just one buck.
Portnoy went into the thought process that went into the way the layoffs were announced to staff and why they had to happen.
“I have an email with Erika, from last night, we were going to do it this morning. It’s like, ‘You know what, if I was getting fired, I wouldn’t want to commute into work, and then be like, ‘see ya,’” Portnoy said. “I would much rather get it the night before, not have to come into work.”
He went on to say there weren’t many other options for how to carry out the layoffs, adding that details about the cuts had to have been “leaked” and expressing frustration over that happening.
“It sucks,” Portnoy continued. “There is no good way to do it. But, it’s not a discussion of, ‘Hey, here’s what you can do better.’ This was a financial layoff thing. You weren’t going to sing for your supper and get your job.”
Portnoy went on to say, “It was not necessarily like you f–ked this up, or you f–ked that up — it’s we have to get back to a break-even point.”
Portnoy closed the topic saying that the company originally planned on executing the layoffs in early September and this wasn’t a “fault of anybody.”
“The company changed hands. I said it in our company meeting. We were in a world where, that we were competing against other gambling companies, who have yet to turn a profit and are losing hundreds of millions of dollars — so losing 10, 12 million’s nothing. It’s the marketing,” Portnoy said. “We never would have hired those people in the original world.”
Over the years we’ve hired and trained the best of the best. It’s sad we have to let some of those people go. I urge any company that can hire them to do so. They’re all-stars. pic.twitter.com/cE2fh7gkLD— Erika (@erika_) August 31, 2023
In the memo that Ayers Badan shared, it stated that the company had a meeting at 11 a.m. seemingly to discuss the news of the layoffs.
“We are letting go a lot of good people today — people who worked hard and alongside us. Everyone whose job has been impacted has been notified and will be contacted by HR today to cover the details of their separation. This is a really hard day for everyone involved,” the letter read. “We are not going to have the luxury of so many people or so much help anymore which will change how we do things. This is going to require us to be smaller and for people to step up.”
The note ended encouraging staff members to reach out to Ayers Badan or Portnoy.