Katie Nolan Heads To ESPN

The former Fox Sports 1 host is taking her talents to ‘The Mothership’

(Katie Nolan)

Katie Nolan’s rise from Boston bartender to sports media star has been well documented, fascinating, and inspiring.

After initially starting off as a blogger, Nolan joined Yardbarker in 2011 before joining the at-the-time newly launched Fox Sports 1 in 2013 as a correspondent for Regis Philbin’s now-defunct program Crowd Goes Wild.

After two more years of work as both an on-air correspondent and online host, came Garbage Time – her nightly podcast – which premiered in March of 2015.

After terrific interviews with the likes of WFAN host Mike Francesa, now disgraced former WFAN host Craig Carton, and former UFC fighter Matt Sierra and radio host Jim Norton, Nolan’s profile quickly sky rocketed from an underground figure with a cult-like following to one of the more recognizable faces in national sports media.

Now, that profile just got even bigger.

As first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina, Nolan is taking her talents to ESPN.

The move comes as no surprise, as the Emmy award winning Nolan had previously expressed disappointment in her ongoing contractual drama with FOX, reportedly seeking an early release from her contract with the company:

Now, the desperate-to-return Nolan gets to do just that, at a network desperately in need of her services.

It’s a partnership both sides absolutely needed.

Ratings for ESPN programming have been flat lining, specifically for their NFL telecasts.

Per the network, Nolan will have “a prominent digital presence while also making appearances across ESPN studio programming”.

Connor Schnell — ESPN’s Vice President of content — would go on to say Nolan “adds a fresh perspective”, and given ESPN’s current roster of on-air talent, a fresh perspective from a fresh and popular face is exactly what they need.

Part of the networks’ decline — besides the fact that social media, specifically Twitter, has seemingly taken its place in terms of seeking out highlights from any particular game — is the fact that there’s a glaring lack of recognizable, relatable, and more importantly familiar faces, especially since the company laid off several prominent employees a few months back.

Nolan provides that, while also providing the network with a noticeably likable talent.

Sure, Jemele Hill is a solid enough broadcaster, but the divisiveness and controversy she’s caused with her constantly politically charged and at times insensitive takes over the years has done little to endear her to 100 percent of her audience. Scott Van Pelt on the other hand may be terrific, but by the time he comes on, most of us are going to sleep if we’re not knocked out already.

If Nolan is utilized properly, her welcoming, relaxed, yet sharp nature could quickly make her THE face of the network. Yes, like most in a similarly prominent position to hers, Nolan has at one point ignited controversy with her commentary, but unlike Hill, Nolan’s moments of controversy cause debate that remains in the realm of sports — an approach that the network has clearly welcomed by bringing her on board.

Like Hill, Nolan never hesitates to ask the tough questions and provide intense analysis, but once again, those questions and commentary — while poignant — remain sports oriented, and they’re measured and articulated well enough to where her questions and commentaries cause more of a self-examination among ourselves rather than anger, further intolerance, and further divide. Wood doused with gasoline that Hill has thrown into an already raging fire.

ESPN needs more on-air talent like Katie Nolan, making this hiring, one of their smartest in quite some time.

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