I recently had the privilege of speaking with Nashville Predators reporter, host, and Emmy winner Lyndsay Rowley about her career as a woman working in sports. Although her path into the hockey world was anything but straight, her experiences and work ethic are something that all women trying to get into the sports field can learn from.
Rowley grew up in a very sports-based family, as her mother was a college volleyball coach. She followed in her mother’s footsteps and ended up playing Division 1 volleyball herself, while also pursuing a degree in communications and marketing. After she graduated, she became her mother’s assistant coach for two years before receiving a marketing internship in New York. This internship later turned into a job offer, where she stayed for six months.
Rowley’s broadcasting journey began with an unpaid internship at a local television station while in grad school. The internship was extended from two months to nine months and she was able to develop a strong resume reel with the help of her mentor at the company.
Rowley dove into the sports world as a sideline reporter for high school football and volleyball and started marketing herself in the industry. She began sending out her resume to every sports team she could in the NHL, MLB, NFL, and NBA, and ended up getting a position as an arena host for the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets).
Her first official game as arena host was a sold-out game against the Lakers; she reminisced about this experience by saying, “Being an arena host, you walk in and you’re looking at a camera, but the 20,000 sets of eyes are right there watching you, so if you mess up it really puts you on the spot.” This experience was beneficial to her career, as she explained that it gave her the confidence needed to continue pursuing a job in the industry.
The broadcast company that the Hornets were under, Bally Sports South, is the same company for a lot of southern sports teams. Rowley noticed that the Nashville Predators (who are also under this company) had never hired a woman to be on their television broadcast. During a Hornets game, she introduced herself to the president of the company. She then auditioned for an open position with the Nashville Predators and ended up getting the position as a reporter and host.
Average Day on the Job
As a reporter for a hockey team, it takes a lot of preparation and time to get a show ready. On a typical gameday, Rowley will get to the rink around 9:30 in the morning to start preparing their show. The team will talk about themes and highlights they want to include and prepare a general script. When the team is at home in Nashville, Rowley will stay on the desk and will have a separate rinkside reporter help out with the show, but during away games, interviewing on the bench is also included in her position.
She will then go to morning skate where the team receives updates about line combinations and any injuries on the team. The team then talks to the head coach in a separate room and interviews him about what is going on with the team and what he is expecting in regards to the game that night. They will write this information down and go over their notes one more time before heading home to get ready.
Rowley will return to the arena at around 5 p.m., go over her notes, and get ready to start the show. Their pregame show starts a half hour before the game, and they talk about everything that they had prepared earlier in the day. Throughout the game, they interview players and talk about what has been happening throughout each period. At the end of the game, they have a quick post-game show where they go over anything that really stood out about the game and what to expect in the future. After they wrap, Rowley usually leaves the arena around 10 p.m.
Favorite Part About the Job
Rowley said that her favorite part about her job is constantly being challenged to think on her feet. She said that being able to do this to put on a successful show gives her a lot of confidence in her abilities, as this is something that is very challenging and something that a lot of people can’t do.
She attributes her love of the job to the amazing Predators staff, from the coaches to the players, and the people that work on the show with her. A huge part of the hockey community is everyone feeling like a family and like they are a member of the team, and that is no different with the broadcast groups. Rowley said she loves working for this amazing organization and loves being able to help share their stories.
Best Advice for Other Women in Sports
One of the biggest takeaways from my conversation with Rowley is about keeping a positive mindset and not getting discouraged about rejection. There will always be a lot of rejection, especially in this field, but it is so important to continue pushing forward and not letting setbacks get in your way. Rowley advised, “Stay positive, keep pushing. If this is ultimately what you want to do, you’ll find a way… If I can do it, then you and anybody else really can. Anyone who’s really determined to do it and is willing to work hard.” Rowley emphasized to not doubt yourself and to be confident in your skills, because that confidence projects to the people you end up meeting in the sports community.
Another piece of advice that Rowley gives to young professionals trying to get into the field is to use LinkedIn as a resource as much as possible. She talked about how she used it to share her resume reel out to as many companies as possible and to make the connections that are vital to making it in this industry.
Lyndsay Rowley has made a huge impact in her field by being the first woman on the reporting panel for the Predators and by being an Emmy award-winning broadcaster, and has paved the way for many more women to enter the hockey world. There is so much that women who are seeking to enter the field can learn from her journey and her advice.