SBD/Issue 29/Sports Industrialists

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  • Catching Up With ESPN Sideline Reporter Erin Andrews

    ESPN's Erin Andrews
    During her four-plus years with ESPN, ERIN ANDREWS has transcended the role of a traditional sideline reporter to become a pop icon, someone whose seemingly every move is detailed throughout the blogosphere. What that attention often overshadows is the fact Andrews is among the tops in her trade, used by ESPN on a variety of big-ticket events, including ABC's Saturday primetime college football broadcasts, the annual North Carolina-Duke basketball games, the College World Series and weekly MLB broadcasts. A proud Univ. of Florida graduate, Andrews took time recently to chat with Staff Writer Jessica Collins about her budding career and celebrity status.

    Favorite sports city: Boston, Chicago, any SEC town
    What are you most afraid of: Birds
    Dream car: I’d have to say my dream car is the car I currently drive, which is a BMW SUV
    Favorite Web sites: People.com, TMZ.com
    An idea you wish you thought of: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts
    Favorite airline: Delta
    Book you are currently reading: “The Five People You Meet In Heaven,” by MITCH ALBOM

    Q: In a July column by GateHouse News Service's MIKE NADEL, he criticized you for the way you dressed and your interactions with players. What were your thoughts/feelings when this happened?

    Andrews: This was an opinion of one guy who isn’t on television. And he has to dress very differently from how we would dress. When we come to town for a game it’s a big deal and we really dress up because we’re reaching a national audience, so I’m not going to wear … I couldn’t wear what he wears. I think my overall thought was he’s the first one that’s ever complained and I think if it had been a problem I would have heard about it before. I’m just a target right now for people that either want to come after me or make headway on the Internet, and I've got to accept that, have thick skin and watch everything I do. I’m learning that I’m a target moreso than anyone and I haven’t figured out why yet, but I just have to make sure everything’s covered. I think what I have to realize is that people are going to take shots at me regardless if I’m in a dress or a jacket from head to toe. 

    Q: What are some of the most interesting fan encounters you’ve experienced?

    Andrews: Well, you get the marriage proposals and I’ve been getting the guys painting their chest with my name on it. But it’s actually started to pick up (getting noticed). I’ve started to learn that falling asleep on a plane, maybe I need to wear a hat. I’ll fall asleep on the plane and I’m out before takeoff and I’m comatose -- that’s my time to sleep, when I'm on the plane traveling from one game to another. You don’t know what you look like when you sleep but as soon as I wake up someone says, "So, what game are you going to?" and I’m just like "Oh my gosh, where am I? What city am I in?" I don’t know if I’m drooling or I had my mouth wide open or what. You don’t feel like people are watching you but they really are.

    Q: Who is your favorite sports figure to cover?

    Andrews: My favorite people to be around in sports are DAVID ORTIZ and DEREK JETER. With Derek, he is always first class all the way. He may not tell you a lot in an interview but he’s Derek Jeter and he’s always accessible and he’ll always help you out with anything you need. I just think somebody of his stature, living in New York and the way he handles himself with the media and the fans, I really appreciate it. It’s pretty admirable. And with David Ortiz, he’s one of my favorites because obviously we come across a lot of sports figures, and good mood, bad mood, you never know how you’re going to catch them. But with Big Papi, what you see is what you get. He always has a smile on his face. He always remembers where he came from. It’s just nice because you've got these guys who are glorified in sports and they are made out to be such superstars and the cool thing about both of those guys are they both are superstars because they treat the media so well and they’ll give us what we need.

    Q: How has blogging changed sports journalism?

    Andrews: Sports blogging is what it is. I’m trying to do my best to stay away from it. One thing is it gives people a voice and they may not know the whole story and that could be very damaging. On the other end, blogging has made me pretty popular -- I don’t know if popular is the right word -- but it’s created kind of an animal for me on the Internet. I think it’s important for me and my employers not to take it so seriously because it gives people a voice that may not know the whole story.

    Q: What are the biggest misconceptions people have about you?

    Andrews: I don’t think they realize how much work goes into it, for me personally. I study more than I ever did in college. I don’t think people really get how much I study. I have people come up to me on the sidelines and they see the thick pad I walk around with and they say, "Wow! Is that all your work?" and I kind of just laugh, like "No, somebody did this all for me." I’ve read comments that people make about me and they think that my life is all glamorous. I would highly invite those people to come and travel with me, come walk on the sidelines and see what it’s like. I would love to take anyone up on that. I think a lot of people think it’s really, really glamorous, and there are times when you are in the pouring rain or you’re running up and down the sidelines and you trip and fall, or you have to eat a hot dog just to get two seconds of nourishment in before you go grab a coach. You’re like "Ah, this is so glamorous."

    Q: Do you think sideline reporters are still relevant?

    Andrews: There are a lot of people who think (sideline reporting) is a waste of time. That’s why I think this year and over the past year you see what CBS has done, you kind of can’t help but think, "OK, how can I make my job relevant and make it a necessity on the sidelines?" We are the set of eyes down there that the booth or cameras don’t have. That’s really something I’ve pushed myself with. I’ve kind of concentrated the past two years on not coming in with the pre-produced stories, or as a lot of people like to say the fluff stories.

    Last year, DENNIS DIXON with Oregon was leading the Heisman and a lot of people thought he was going to win it, and I’m down there and we knew he was banged up heading into the game at Arizona. So I’m down there (on the sidelines) and I’m watching him and he takes a hit (where he tears his knee ligaments). He comes over to the sidelines and our cameras and our announcers are focused on the game, but I’m standing right there and the trainer starts crying. And I’m like, "You guys, the trainer’s crying. The trainer wouldn’t be crying if something wasn’t wrong." And then they bring down his dad and I grab his dad and I asked, "What’s going on? What have you heard?" That is why you need a sideline reporter.

    Andrews Says Storm Is One Of The Reasons
    She Wanted To Get Into Broadcasting 
    Q: Who has been your mentor throughout your career?

    Andrews: My dad, STEVE ANDREWS, is in television and works for the NBC affiliate in Tampa. I also always looked up to HANNAH STORM growing up. She was kind of the one who got me into it. I always watched the NBA on NBC and I loved her. The cool thing for me was this year at the Home Run Derby she was in New York. It was the first time I got to meet her and it was funny because there were all these big time baseball players coming back for the All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium and I got to meet Hannah and I was more excited about that.

    Q: If you could change something about the sports industry what would it be?

    Andrews: The overall perception of women. I think that you look at a lot of the women we have at ESPN and how hard they work and there’s still a perception. I think you still get it from people that just don’t want to change. That’s what that Chicago article was about. When all that happened I thought to myself, ‘Are we still dealing with this?’ That’s why I invite anyone to come and hang out with me and see what it’s like for me. I don’t think that people think I am as big of a tomboy or a sports fan as I am. That’s what I think is cool, when people are around me for the first time and they talk sports with me and the common reaction is, "Oh wow, you really are a sports fan. You really do know a lot." It’s hard not to laugh or roll your eyes because it’s like, "Well, what did you think? Because I have blonde hair, I am 5'10" and I like to look nice that you think I’m just there as an ornament?"

    Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Andrews: I’m enjoying right now where I am on the sidelines. I like being part of the action. A lot of people bring up to me maybe entertainment, maybe studio and I’m never going to turn up my nose at any of that stuff but I think the one thing for me is I love being a part of the drama. Whether it’s on the field, court, if it’s a big injury that we have to follow and I’m at Ohio State’s hotel at 5am the day of the USC game, I love that stuff. I like the rush of it all. I love following stories and getting to know the players and them telling you the inside scoop. It’s really a good time for me. I love being a snoop, seeing what the coaches are saying or watching the trainers try to hide stuff from me that they’re bringing out for an injured player. It’s just really fun.

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
  • This Week's Newsmakers: Holtz' Mouth Gets Him In Hot Water

    THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week’s newsmakers.

    Rays Celebrate After Winning
    World Series Game Two
    WIN: RAYS -- MLB’s feel-good story (sorry Phillies fans) continues, as the former cellar-dwellers are riding high after tying up the World Series at one game each Thursday night. Fan support for the club is at an all-time high and their local TV rights are locked up for the next eight years. More importantly, with several key players, including EVAN LONGORIA and JAMES SHIELDS, locked up to long-term contracts, this might be the start of an annual October pilgrimage to the Gulf Coast.

    LOSE: LOU HOLTZ -- Why would anyone think it is acceptable to mention ADOLF HITLER's name on national television, even in a joking manner? Holtz for years has been an on-air draw in part due to his unpredictable commentary, but he clearly let his mouth get ahead of his brain in this instance. One other question -- how did ESPN let him skate by with a simple apology when other employees have been suspended for similar measures?

    DRAW: DAVID BECKHAM -- Less than two years ago, Becks landed in the States amid the pomp and circumstance usually reserved for heads of state. But after two disappointing seasons with the Galaxy, reports from Europe have the global icon heading to famed club AC Milan for at least a portion of the year. The move would greatly aid Beckham in his stated goal of making England’s 2010 World Cup team. But is this a sign that he is already giving up on his version of the American dream?

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
  • Executive Transactions

    MLB has hired JEFF HECKELMAN as Manager of Business PR and LAUREN VERRUSIO Specialist for Business PR, both reporting to VP/Business PR MATT BOURNE. Heckelman formerly was a Senior Account Executive at Edelman Sports and prior to that was a PR Coordinator for the USTA. Verrusio formerly was a Corporate Communications Specialist for Virgin Atlantic (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

    ON THE MOVE: The Big Ten Conference has agreed to a contract extension with Commissioner JIM DELANY through June 30, 2013. Delany is in his 20th year as Big Ten Commissioner (Big Ten)....The MLB Rangers named Red Sox VP/Media Relations JOHN BLAKE Exec VP/Communications, effective November 1. Blake previously worked for the Rangers from '84-'04 (MLB.com, 10/23)....The NFL named JEREMY TROY Coordinator of Labor Operations in the Management Council Department. Troy for the past year has worked in the NFL's Player Development Department, and he began his career with the Saints (THE DAILY)....The WNBA Washington Mystics named ANGELA TAYLOR VP & GM. For the past two seasons, Taylor served as WNBA Minnesota Lynx VP/Business Operations and prior to that, spent 10 years at the WNBA league office in various capacities, including as Senior Dir of Player Personnel (Wizards).

    EXECS: USA Boxing named PATRICK BORKOWSKI High Performance Dir, effective November 4. Borkowski, who previously worked in the USOC's Performance Services Department, will design and manage a new High Performance approach and culture for USA Boxing (USA Boxing)....The Univ. of Alabama-Birmingham named former Mississippi State Univ. men's basketball coach RICHARD WILLIAMS Dir of Basketball Operations (AP, 10/22)....Sunrise Sports & Entertainment (SS&E) promoted Dir of Event Programming SID GREENFEIG to VP/Event Programming. Greenfeig will continue to oversee all programming for the BankAtlantic Center and Sawgrass Live (SS&E)….The Boston Culinary group named STEVE CAHOON VP/Marketing & Business Development. Cahoon returns to the company after serving in a similar capacity for the group in ’05 (Boston Culinary Group).

    Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
  • Names In The News

    FCC's Sponsorship Of Gilliland Ride
    Draws Ire From Watchdog Group
    FCC Chair KEVIN MARTIN was named "October Porker of the Month" by Citizens Against Government Waste for "using FCC funds to sponsor a NASCAR driver from his home state." The FCC is placing messages about the digital TV transfer on DAVID GILLILAND's No. 38 Sprint Cup car for three races. The group said that it "seems 'absurd' to spend taxpayer money 4 months before the switch following months of alternative advertising" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 10/24).

    MANHATTAN TRANSIT: NASCAR driver BRIAN VICKERS' Manhattan penthouse apartment in SoHo is featured in the N.Y. TIMES' "Great Homes And Destinations" feature. Vickers "spends most of his time" in Charlotte, where he is "sometimes stopped mid-bite during dinner at a restaurant to pose for a photo or sign an autograph." But "few people in New York know or care" who he is. Vickers: "Some people live in New York City and escape elsewhere. I live elsewhere, and escape to New York" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/24).

    A NEW BREED: Celebrities expected to attend the five Breeders' Cup races Friday include Dodgers manager JOE TORRE, actors ALLISON JANNEY and RACHAEL HARRIS, chef BOBBY FLAY and CBS' "Survivor" host JEFF PROBST. Prior to the nine races Saturday, Breeders' Cup goodwill ambassador KURT RUSSELL "kicks off the opening ceremonies and California Gov. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER will present the trophy to the winner" of the $5M Breeders' Cup Classic (AP, 10/24).

    GET WELL SOON: Jazz Owner LARRY MILLER's health "suffered another setback this week when doctors discovered a bone infection and diabetic ulcers on his foot." Miller will undergo six weeks of therapy "on an outpatient basis" (DESERET NEWS, 10/24).

    NAMES: The CBC Sports HOF next month will induct its '08 class, which includes sports radio personality FRED WALKER, former TV Producer GORDON CRAIG, cameraman TOM FISK and TV personalities DICK IRVIN and BOB MOIR (CBC)....Minneapolis-based KFAN-AM personality JEFF DUBAY was charged Wednesday with "felony drug possession, accused of tossing crack cocaine and a pipe from his vehicle" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/23)....Hornets G CHRIS PAUL has teamed up with musician GARTH BROOKS and restaurant Copeland's of New Orleans to host the inaugural Chris Paul Basketball Camp, to be held Saturday at the Univ. of New Orleans. Copeland's will debut a signature Chris Paul dish as part of the partnership (Hornets)....Clearwater (FL) Mayor FRANK HIBBARD and Pinellas County (FL) Commissioner RONNIE DUNCAN "each got a Rayhawk Wednesday" and in the process raised $2,500 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/23)....Pro Football HOFer JOHN ELWAY was scheduled to join a 10:00am MT rally for Republican Presidential candidate JOHN MCCAIN Friday at the National Western Arena in Denver (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 10/24).

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
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