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Goal-Oriented: Asli Pelit talks Soccer, Business Reporting, and Life

"15 years ago, a man told me, 'No one wants to see women sports reporters,'" Asli Pelit shared during a South by Southwest panel. Hearing her say those words compelled me to want to speak with her. After the panel, I introduced myself and to my delight, Asli eagerly shared her contact information so she and I could chat more later.

Courtesy of Seth Reissig/Sportico

Over the past decade, Asli Pelit has proven herself to be a dynamic professional. Before receiving her MBA from Columbia Business School, she received a B.A. in Journalism from New York University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Havana, completed in Spanish. Her passion for journalism was sparked by her family background, with influences from her historian grandmother and her mother. As an immigrant in Miami, she realized the friends she grew up with had a similar history to that of her Turkish descent and gravitated towards Latin American studies. Now, Asli is currently the Sports Deals Reporter at Sportico.

Courtesy of Seth Reissig/Sportico

Sportico, the only sports publication for the Penske Media Group came about in 2020 during the pandemic. Since 2021, Asli has covered mergers & acquisitions that happen in the sports landscape. She also covers who buys a team, has majority stakes in a team, and more issues of that nature. For my girls who love numbers and the business side of how sports work, Asli tells me, “We basically follow M&A transactions in every sports landscape.” Our discussion revealed her deep love for soccer, the recent changes in the NWSL, and Americans' growing interest in European soccer clubs.

I ask what her typical day-to-day looks like and she explains to me that sometimes, for months at a time, she is looking for clues. Looking for clues leads to making a lot of phone calls, and this means taking almost all the information she gets with a grain of salt. I make a small joke and call her “an investigative reporter.” To which she laughs and agrees. Although Asli has been in this position for a few years, she continues to learn as she goes. As a former breaking news reporter, Asli is used to being on the site of the news. “I would go and report what's in front of me and it's a big shift to know when something is really happening.” In her current role, she tells me, “You don’t really know if something is actually happening. Now I need multiple sources to tell me what the story is and I only write it. This is the kind of job where you rely on other people.” She explains her job to me like solving a puzzle. 

One highlight of Asli’s career at Sportico so far was covering Lionel Messi’s transfer to Inter Miami in 2023. Asli describes what Sportico’s focus was for his transfer.  “Covering his impact on the North American soccer landscape, fandom, and obviously his impact on sports business, and MLS' business.” Admittedly, when Asli left Argentina in 2016, she thought she would continue covering soccer in America, but when she went to job interviews here, the response was almost always the same. The tried and true: “No one cares about soccer in the United States, you will never be a soccer reporter.” Fast forward to 2023 in an article written by Asli for Sportico, she unpacks how Lionel Messi's move to MLS grew the amount of followers for Inter Miami tremendously, how ticket sales skyrocketed, and how Messi has the most sold jersey in the history of

Along with Messi’s transformation of Major League Soccer, the MLS has grown to a total of 29 teams in 2024. Despite the previous skepticism about soccer's popularity in the U.S. during the summer of 2025, Americans can look forward to COPA America and the Club World Cup. And as for the 2026 World Cup, 11 cities throughout the United States will be hosts for games.

After completing her graduate studies in Cuba, Asli wrote a book and worked at an independent radio station in Uruguay. She spent 10 years traveling across South America, living in Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Her career took her to CNN in South America as a correspondent for four years, followed by creating a production company that developed content for international networks. Her show 'Continents of 10s,' aired until the 2014 World Cup, exploring soccer culture's influence in Latin America. Subsequent roles Asli has held include producing for VICE and reporting from Voice of America’s New York office on financial and international topics in three languages.

Photo Courtesy of Asli Pelit

Reflecting on her journey, Asli expressed no regrets and emphasized the importance of embracing life's experiences. "News happens anywhere but the newsroom," a quote from one of her NYU professors, has guided her. She advises current students to explore the world and embrace unique paths.

Photo Courtesy of Asli Pelit

“Don't compare yourself with anyone. Do something that nobody else is doing. If you do something that no one else is daring to do, that adds a lot of value to you. And learn a different language. Learn about different cultures. And I really tell this to girls, you can do anything that guys can do. There is no limit to your potential.” Asli tells me when I bring up past issues of feeling the weight of comparison as a woman in her twenties. 

We then discuss the male domination that is overt in our profession. Asli expressed to me that she wishes she knew it wasn't going to be easy to do sports business reporting in the United States. The first reason, being a woman, but also as a woman of Turkish descent. She tells me she’s aware she doesn’t have a typical name and she felt as if she needed to convince people she was knowledgeable enough to understand all the information given to her. A theme many women of color face today, this became the intention behind why she attended business school. She felt as if without the business degree, as a woman, no one would take her seriously in business reporting. We also talk about gender bias a bit and how maybe if she had been a man she would've been given a pedestal with all of the previous work she has completed because as women, we unfortunately are still not well respected in the world of sports. “Get a good degree,” she tells me, “And something that gives you a stamp of approval.”

“Why not?” That was Asli’s answer when I asked her, “Why be a woman in sport?” She exclaimed that she loves it. “I’m not sure that I love anything more than soccer. The game, the fandom, the huge business that can move billions of dollars around the world.” She gushes over the game that brings people of all different demographics together in a stadium all for the same reason.

Our conversation ended with me feeling Asli's unwavering passion for her work and soccer, a testament to her dedication and love for sports. Asli’s devotion to her work serves as a beacon for future generations of journalists who might once have doubted their place in sports media. Her impact on sports journalism and the young women who will follow in her footsteps is persisting.

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1 comentario

This is great.

Asli is the best!

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