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Sideline reporter

  (Redirected from Field reporter)
A sideline reporter during a soccer game in Israel

A sideline reporter is a professional journalist who assists a sports broadcasting crew with sideline coverage of the playing field or court. The sideline reporter typically makes live updates on injuries and breaking news or conducts player interviews while players are on the field or court because the play-by-play broadcaster and color commentator must remain in their broadcast booth. Sideline reporters are often granted inside information about an important update, such as injury.

Since the 1990s, most sideline reporters covering major sports have been women. In most cases, women are denied the opportunity to provide play-by-play or color commentary (with women's sports being a significant excpetion), leaving the sideline reporter position (which only requires basic journalism training) as the ideal position for affirmative action hiring.


Origins of sideline reportingEdit

Jim Lampley is considered[by whom?] to be the first sideline reporter. According to Lampley, the job grew out of the wreckage of the 1972 Munich Olympics, when new wireless technology was put to use in ABC's Quicksilver coverage of the Israeli hostage crisis and the subsequent massacre. As Lampley recalled, "Months later, they asked, 'What else could we do? Would it work in a football stadium? Could we put someone on the sidelines?'"[this quote needs a citation] The first broadcast with a sideline reporter(s) was the UCLA Bruins vs. Tennessee Volunteers football game in 1974, on ABC.[citation needed]

Although it did not pioneer the concept, the XFL made far greater use of its sideline reporters during its lone 2001 season than had previously been used, interviewing players and coaches between plays. This would eventually influence the way the major broadcast networks covered major sports, to the point where the National Football League began putting restrictions on its players and coaches giving interviews to sideline reporters several years later.


After controversies with multiple sideline reporters such as Jenn Sterger or Ines Sainz, the stereotype that sideline reporters lack fundamental knowledge has plagued the now popular sportscasting role.[citation needed] This has been exacerbated by news such as the 2010 sexual harassment scandal involving Ines Sainz.[1] Lampley's replacement in 1977 was Anne Simon.

United StatesEdit

In the United States, sideline reporters have dealt with a variety of incidents while on duty. Sideline reporter Pam Oliver was once preparing for a sideline report during an NFL game when a quarterback threw a ball at her face.[2] Further, the former quarterback of the New York Jets, Joe Namath, said that he wanted to kiss ESPN's Suzy Kolber on air. This incident occurred in 2003.[3]

Female reportersEdit

Female sideline reporters in sports have become a huge part of broadcasting athletic events. After eight years with ESPN, Erin Andrews signed a contract with FOX Sports in 2012. Eric Shanks, who is the co-president of FOX Sports Media Group, called her "one of the hardest-working, most-respected individuals in sports television."[4] The high success rate of female sideline reporters hasn't been met without controversy. Many sideline reporters have been cheerleaders, bikini models, and pageant winners, and many have reputations as sex symbols for the predominantly male audiences that watch sports; physical attractiveness is increasingly a de facto requirement for the position.


Oftentimes, sideline reporters are faced with uncomfortable interviews that they have to conduct because the network demands it and they are asked to bring forth the tough question. If the sideline reporter is not prepared for an interview, it may make for an awkward moment on national television. As with the case with professional athletes and coaches, for instance, it may be very difficult and sometimes unavoidable, to stray away from uncomfortable interviews. An example of a notorious interviewee is San Antonio Spurs Head Basketball coach Gregg Popovich. Popovich is known for giving short, often bizarre answers, when interviewed by a court side reporter. All of his interactions with reporters have become must see television. ESPN reported that that "bubbling sense of discomfort for NBA sideline reporters as a between-quarters date with Popovich draws near is almost universal." [5]


There are different types of sideline reporters depending on the sport:

Notable sideline reportersEdit


  1. ^ Howard, Caroline (2010-09-14). "All Eyes On Ines Sainz Sexual Harassment Controversy". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  2. ^ "Sideline reporter Pam Oliver hit in face with pass before Giants-Colts game". 2013-08-19. Retrieved 11/4/13.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ Hiestand, Michael (2012-1-25). "ESPN's Suzy Kolber now talks on Joe Namath 'kiss' episode". USATODAY. Retrieved 11/4/13.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  4. ^ Kellogg, Jane (2013-05-15). "Erin Andrews Officially Set to Move to Fox Sports After ESPN Contract Expires". Retrieved 11/4/2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ Stein, Mark (6/5/2013). "Do not disturb: Gregg Popovich". Retrieved 11/4/2013.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)