(October 18, 2019) Andy McNamara has never been one to wait for opportunity to find him. Instead, he’s spent the past 10 years building his brand and creating opportunities. The latest creation for the Toronto resident is a national fantasy sports host, analyst and writer position for Sportsnet.
McNamara is providing multi-platform content via a radio show, social media videos, online video shows and writing.
The opportunity came through long-term networking and relationship building. “It wasn’t a specific opening, but something I was able to put a presentation together for and pitch the fantasy sports brand that I’d built up for myself over the last several years,” he says.
McNamara moves to Sportsnet after six-and-a-half years at TSN / TSN 1050 as a radio sports talk host and TV play-by-play broadcaster and sideline reporter. “TSN was a terrific experience, but this Sportsnet opportunity provides the multi-platform stages for the fantasy sports brand I wanted to grow at a national level. The support and value in my work that I’ve felt from Sportsnet has been incredible.”
McNamara has faced several challenges while building his fantasy football brand. They include struggling to find the right decision makers, and employers who don’t have interest in, or the budget for, McNamara’s proposals.
“Part of how I’ve overcome these issues is to become my own salesman,” he says. That is also his advice to others. “Relentlessly research and contact as many different types of businesses and industries that might make sense as someone that can sponsor your show. More doors open in today’s media landscape if you can bring some sort of revenue with you.”
McNamara encourages anyone looking to create opportunities to find a niche about which they are truly passionate and become an expert. “That might just be your ticket into a larger station, network, etc.”
Another of McNamara’s suggestions is looking for a popular, but under the radar sport in your region that is not getting major coverage. “For me that was starting a Canadian Football League podcast with my broadcast partner Carlan Gay back in 2010 which lead us to signing with CBC and eventually TSN,” he says. “Fantasy sports in Canada is very popular, but doesn’t get close to the coverage it does in the U.S., so fantasy football and hockey was the next area I focused on once at TSN. That has now brought me to be the national fantasy sports host/analyst/writer at Sportsnet.”
A regular part of McNamara’s introduction of himself to employers is his STAA Talent Page. He’s been using it in the job market since joining STAA more than a decade ago. “I love STAA because it provides a great one stop link for you to send out for various jobs, contacts, etc. Having your resume, social media links, and demo reels all in one area makes it an easy, time saving way for someone to check out your talents.”
McNamara says, just like with athletes, nothing beats hard work in broadcasting. “I had regular 9-5 jobs for years where I then did another four hours of play-by-play, writing, radio show hosting, etc. after work. If you’re not willing to grind then today’s media landscape isn’t for you. Get as many reps as possible in as many different areas as you can, and include writing.”