A guided tour through the past few decades of women’s sports coverage
If you’ve enjoyed a women’s sports broadcast on the ESPN family of networks anytime in the past, oh, 29 years, you have someone to thank: Carol Stiff.
The longtime ESPN executive joined Howard Megdal on the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast ahead of what is a banner weekend for women’s sports all over ESPN.
There’s the ABC broadcast on May 25, 3:30 PM EST, between the Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury, something Stiff said was “a direct result” of the ratings increase the WNBA saw last season.
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“We added more games on ABC this year,” Stiff said. “We moved a few games from ESPN2 to ESPN, and that’s getting to more eyeballs being able to watch and see the WNBA.”
Stiff has been hooked on women’s basketball since her mother took her to Madison Square Garden as a young girl to see Carol Blazejowski and Montclair State face Queens College, and the Blaze scored 52 points to set the Garden record for most points by a women’s basketball player in the arena’s history.
“I’ll never forget that,” Stiff said. “And I think that’s when the light bulb went on. I just fell in love with the sport.”
Listen to all of Stiff’s amazing stories, from how she put together the Tennessee-Connecticut game back in 1995, to the legacy of USA Basketball’s 1996 tour that helped create the WNBA.
As for the weekend ahead, with softball, lacrosse, the final sendoff match for the U.S. women’s national soccer team and the WNBA? Well, Stiff has earned some relaxation time, and knows how she’ll spend it.
“We are going to run 29 events this coming weekend, 58 hours of women’s sports… a lot of it will be across all of our networks at the same time. For me, it’s the weekend where I might not get out of my pajamas.”
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