A CBS Sports journalist since 2004, Tracy Wolfson took a somewhat roundabout route to getting her shot on air, but has since covered Super Bowls, March Madness tournaments, and some of the other biggest events in U.S. sports. We talked with her about her journey as a woman in sports media, the challenges she’s faced, and the favorite moments she’s had.
Why did you decide to get into sportscasting?
I’ve wanted to be a sportscaster since I was seven years old. I would watch Willow Bay with Ahmad Reshad on “NBA Inside Stuff” and decided I wanted to be her. I was a tomboy growing up — played basketball, softball, and tennis, loved watching and playing sports, and just wanted to talk sports for the rest of my life.
I had no brothers, and while I watched the Jets, and the Mets, and the Yankees with my dad on the couch, I have no idea where my passion came from. I would stay up late to watch every game and catch “The George Michael Sports Machine.” Back then, that’s where I would get my highlights.
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your career in sportscasting?
My biggest challenge was getting on the air. I had no blueprint, no mentors, no one to ask how to do it. I went to the University of Michigan because of the academics and big time sports, but they didn’t have broadcasting classes. So I took a very roundabout route to get my first shot.
I interned at HBO Sports, I was a runner for CBS and ABC my senior year of college, I was a researcher for CBS right when I graduated. I left to take a job at a broadcasting agency to see the other side of the business. I produced for the legendary Bob Wolff at “News 12 Long Island,” I made a fake tape there, sent it out across the country and got one offer. A mom-and-pop shop WZBN in Trenton, New Jersey, gave me my first break and, as they say, the rest is history.
As a female in a male-dominated field, what advice do you have for other female journalists just starting out in their career?
First off, get in it because you absolutely love it. Second, know your stuff because, if you don’t, you will be exposed very quickly. Third, you will need thick skin because you will be challenged because you are a woman. Fourth, just be nice, which sounds simple, but if you’re a good person, people will go to bat for you. And finally, if you want to do this job and be a mother, know there will be a lot of sacrifices, a lot of time away on the road by yourself, a lot of missed birthdays, holidays, school plays, and kids’ games. But I hope I show that women can have it all, it just has to be done right.
What was your favorite interview and who was it with?
I would probably have to say the first Super Bowl I covered, Super Bowl L with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. His final game, my first Super Bowl, all the questions about him retiring, the Bud Light response. I remember when I finished the interview, I looked at my sideline producer and let out a sigh of relief and a big smile because we had done it — my dream to cover a super bowl had come true!
What is your favorite sport to cover?/What is your favorite sport?
My favorite sport to cover is football but my favorite event has to be March Madness because of the joy, passion, and unpredictability of it all. One month straight of it and you crown a champ at the end.
My favorite sport to watch now is my kids’ lacrosse games. It’s a sport I had no idea about until I met my husband, but I’m obsessed. I used to play a lot of tennis because I grew up playing it, but I got burned out. I’m all in on golf now, of course, only when I have time.
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