The status of women in sports broadcasting

Joseph A. Griswold – Anchor Contributor

On Sept. 27, long time sports broadcasters Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm made history, becoming the first all-female broadcast team to call a National Football League game. The game, a 38-31 victory for the Los Angeles Rams over the Minnesota Vikings had implications far beyond the football field.

The historic broadcast, which was streamed via Amazon Prime Video, illuminated both the incredibly bright future for females in broadcasting; and the discrimination that still faces females in sports media.

It did not take long for sexist and discriminatory comments to flood in following Amazon’s announcement that Kremer and Storm would be calling 11 NFL games. Many men took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, despite knowing nothing of the two broadcasters other than their gender. One Twitter warrior stated, “I’m by no means sexist, however women broadcasting football or basketball makes me turn the channel.” This astute observation was followed by, “what I’m saying is simply women broadcasters haven’t played the game…most male broadcasters explain more and are all around more knowledgeable of the game.”

So, do male broadcasters know more than Kremer and Storm just because they are male? No.

Andrea Kremer has over 25 years of sports media experience and is the NFL Network’s Chief Correspondent. She has worked on Outside the Lines, NBC’s Sunday Night Football and SportsCenter. In addition, Kremer is an inductee of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, has won two Emmys and received the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle radio-television award for her radio and television contributions to football.  On the other side of Kremer, Hannah Storm brings over 20 years of experience in sports media working for ESPN, ABC, CNN and covering several Super Bowls, National Basketball Association finals and the Olympics. Combined the duo boast more experience than many of the male broadcast teams and certainly more than the Twitter detractors.

Andrea Kremer (left) and Hannah Storm (right), Photo courtesy npr.org

Despite the negative reactions by some individuals, the broadcast is an enormous step forward for the industry and serves as an inspiration to all females in sports media. This broadcast makes it clear that females are longer just sideline reporters: They are lead analyst and reporters that are at the forefront of the industry. Kremer and Storm are the latest duo to join the growing wave of female leaders in the sports industry. They join broadcasters like Beth Mowins, who calls play-by-play for ESPN and CBS, and leading reporters Rachel Nichols, Sarah Spain and Jemele Hill. These women are redefining what it means to be female in sports media.

These women are inspirations and prove that gender does not dictate knowledge or qualification. To Rhode Island College senior and communications major Abbey Burke, “seeing other women succeed in the business gives me hope and confidence that one day that can be me.” And although the NFL has taken a great first step, there is still a long way to go.