Why Are Most of Football's Sideline Reporters Women?
I know, I know, football season is over (sadly), but a reader named Tom Hefferon has written in with a question:
If college and professional football are the unique and entire domain of male athletes, such that former players are most likely the most knowledgeable as to the game’s nuances both on and off the field, why is it that, while all the off-field commentary is also male-dominated, all the on-field interviewing and commentary is done by females who never touched a football, let alone played a down? It seems odd to me and I suspect an explanation would only be found in your good devices.
There are surely a few exceptions — Tony Siragusa comes to mind — but Tom has a point. I’d be interested to know what the networks that carry football know about the appeal of their sideline reporters, but in the absence of such knowledge, I’ll hazard a few guesses:
- One network put a female reporter on the sideline and (whether it was “effective” or not), the others followed.
- The networks wish to appear to not be sexist by having an all-male crew broadcast crew.
- Female reporters are meant to appeal to the heavily male audience — and/or engage the (growing) female minority?
- Sideline reporters aren’t meant to elicit strategy and in-depth information in interviews as much as the players’ and coaches’ emotions, personality, etc., and women are better (or the networks think women are better) at eliciting same.