The ESPN reporter talks about locker-room awkwardness, competitive shopping and Tom Brady’s hair.
Sports anchor Wendi Nix, 36, covers football and golf for ESPN, which she joined as a reporter in 2006. A South Carolina native, she earned a master’s degree in sports management from UMass Amherst in 1997, and began her TV career in South Carolina. Returning to Boston, she worked for NESN, FoxSports and WHDH-TV Channel 7. On ESPN, she hosts NFL Live and College Football Live while contributing to SportsCenter, College Game Day and Sunday NFL Countdown. She has covered the U.S. Open, the Masters and the British Open golf tournaments. Nix lives in Westport.
Wendi Nix: Yes. I just loved to play any sport. I wasn’t very good, but it didn’t stop me.
Probably. But I have a really girly side, too, which probably comes as a disappointment to people when they find out I like to shop.
Well, football’s my favorite sport. I enjoy golf, but football’s my first love.
College, as a fan. If you’re working it, the pros are generally in cities that are easiest to get in or out of. I’m constantly on the road.
Perhaps it’s a bit more defined, because there can be sexually charged environments, but I always feel disingenuous talking about it because I’ve never had any trouble. I really haven’t. In the same way, I think it matters what you look like in this business, but I also think it matters what you look like on Wall Street or anywhere else.
I think it’s supply and demand, and I believe in the market.
Probably depends on the sport. I would venture to say that 10 years ago, it was much more rampant than we realized. But I also do think it’s changing.
[Laughs.] It all seems a little strange. Honestly, the fact that athletes are as quirky and superstitious as the rest of us. It always strikes me as odd when they need to have their little bear in their locker, or whatever.
Probably Nomar Garciaparra, just because he had so many. There were eight or nine things that he absolutely had to do the exact same way every single game of his life.
Well, they’re nude a lot, so I guess I’m used to that. It’s always intimidating walking into a locker room, if you don’t cover the team regularly and you’re just parachuting in. If you’re familiar with the people, it’s no big deal.
I’ll say this much: It’s reached the ponytail stage.
No, I think that when you get to be 35, you’re just glad you’re referred to as something.
I like the Packers. I like the whole Green Bay tradition. I like everything about them.
The Panthers and the Jets, played in Arizona.
Brett Favre’s first un-retirement. It had every human element you can imagine: jealousy and greed and hurt feelings and egos. It was a soap opera.
I think sports are a microcosm of our society as a whole, and I don’t think you can be a sports reporter without knowing what’s going on in the world. I’ll have these young kids say to me, “I only read the sports section or read sports online,” and I tell them they’re way off base.
Well, they switch them so often, I can’t keep track. Shopping maybe? [Laughs.]
I bet you’re thinking of curling, but I love it!
It’s all about the food.
Bud Light. I’m a cheap date.
Let’s go with Rex Ryan of the Jets.
Quite a bit, actually. I have a business background, and I’m sort of an economist at heart. And sports are a business, just like television. We don’t talk about the collective bargaining agreement every day, but if you don’t understand what that process is about, I just don’t think you can do the job correctly.
No. [Laughs.] That’s easily avoidable once you get to know them.
Yeah, this is the thing: I don’t understand the obsession with the giant TV, which is where I’m a total chick. Why does it have to be so big? The TV, I mean. [Laughs.]
The Oregon Duck. I love him. He does push-ups every time they score, and they’re scoring like crazy right now, so I’m a little concerned for his health. But I love that duck.
It’s such a weird season so far. There’s so much parity. I think the Patriots have as good a chance as anybody.
[Laughs] Can I go with America’s sweethearts? They’re a very attractive couple.
Intentionally, no, but I think it’s naïve to say we’re all the same. We’re all equal, but not the same.
No. And when you see how bad my predictions are, you’ll understand why.
Credits: Hair and makeup: Mariolga/Team Artist Representative; photo assistants: Rob Coshow, David Urbina; Location: Towne Stove and Spirits; dress: $380 at Karen Millen