Covering professional sports events since her freshman year in college, Adena Andrews is a woman who knows her sports. For the past two years, Andrews has been hosting events to help her fellow women, but not fellow sports experts, gain sports knowledge as well. For her next event, Andrews is teaming up with a 16-year NFL veteran, Tony Richardson, to equip women with the information they will need to hold their own at the next Monday Night Football meetup.
Named one of Black Enterprise’s top professionals to follow on Twitter for the 2012 NBA season, Andrews’ sports knowledge and communication skills have afforded her opportunities with Turner Sports/NBA, Nike, New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee, CBSSports.com and more. For the past two years, Adena has been hosting Sports and the City events in addition to her professional duties. At chic venues throughout the city, Andrews creates an atmosphere that gives everyone, from the working mom who likes football but does not have time to study the rules of the game to the young professional that feels embarrassed asking her male friends about the terms she does not know, the opportunity to connect, interact, and learn.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Andrews in New York City on the heels of planning tonight’s Sports and the City and just in time for Monday Night Football.
BlackEnterprise.com: How did you get your start in the sports industry?
Adena Andrews: I got my start in the sports industry at a local African-American paper in Los Angeles called the Los Angeles Sentinel. I told them I went to USC, I needed clips and would work for free. I guess that’s all they needed to hear. After that, I was off covering high school basketball games and even got to cover a Lakers game as a freshman. It was pretty exciting to see my name in print for the first time. The adrenaline rush was unforgettable. I’ve been hooked ever since.
What inspired you to start Sports in the City?
There were two things that inspired me 1) Seeing my sister go to church every Sunday and my brother in law stay home and watch football. She couldn’t talk to him about the games and I don’t think she really cared. I figured there must be more woman like this around the country and they could benefit from a little sports knowledge to speak to their significant others. 2) I love sports but didn’t have girlfriends that I can go to games with or call when something interesting happens in the sports world. I wanted my friends to see just how entertaining this realm can be. I also selfishly wanted friends to talk to about sports.
How has it grown since you’ve started the event?
We’ve grown from just 7 women in my living room to an expected crowd of 50 women at Walt Clyde Frazier’s Wine & Dine on the West Side. The first sports and the city we just watched athletes in YouTube videos. This time we have an actual former NFL player, Tony Richardson, sharing his knowledge of the game. I’m also partnering with a young girls empowerment group called Andy’s Haven. We are helping all women, young and old, step their game up.
You have built an amazing sports brand. What advice do you have for people trying to build their own brand as a sports professional?
Stay true to yourself. People will try to point you in all types of directions. They will try to tell you to be like “so and so” – but just remember who you wanted to be when you first got into this game. Stay the course. It’s a long one, I’m certainly not done yet, but it’s worth it.
Mia Hall, (@mia_halldaily) is a freelance reporter, speaker, and host who focuses on the sports industry. She speaks and writes about personal development, diversity in sports business careers, community outreach, mentorship, and accountability. When she’s not speaking or hosting events in her role as a Community Manager at Barclays Center, she shares her stories, advice, videos, and musings on her personal blog, Mia’s Full Court Press.