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The evolution of Erin Andrews: From sideline reporter to businesswoman

Erin Andrews

Erin Andrews Credit: Nick Kova

What does Erin Andrews see herself doing in 10 years?

"Probably having to get a lot of Botox and fillers to stay on the sideline," she said.

Andrews quickly added that she was kidding, but it was a joke rooted in the reality that the actuarial tables for TV journalists traditionally are unkind to people of a certain age, particularly when they are women.

But Andrews has no intention of going quietly, not when she still enjoys her primary sports media role as an NFL sideline reporter for Fox, and not when she has come this far already.

She rose to fame in the mid-2000s, when she was new to ESPN, blogs were new to the internet and the pairing proved to be a match made in page-views heaven.

That could have been the pinnacle of her career, but she carried on, particularly after a stalking incident in 2008 that went public in ’09 and led to years of emotional and legal fallout.

In the ensuing years, she has evolved into a businesswoman, product endorser and entertainment host in addition to her core sportscasting job at ESPN and later Fox.

Along the way Andrews got married – to former New York Ranger Jarret Stoll, in 2017 – and in May she turned 43, no longer the shiny new focus of web attention.

"I’m definitely proud of myself, but I’m also really grateful," she said in a recent phone interview with Newsday.

Then she sought to gather herself, saying that she was getting emotional. She said it might have been because she was tired from an early flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles after a Thursday night game. But it was more than that.

"I’ve had a lot of help," she said. "I know how hard I work, and how hard I am on myself . . . But it’s the people I’ve worked with, whether it’s talent, producers, but also football players, organizations and general managers.

"Somebody asked me the other day, who’s easier to deal with, Tom [Brady] or Aaron [Rodgers] or Dak [Prescott]? And I just said, all these football guys, I’m so grateful to all of them for their time. I get it, it’s a business for them, too. But they’ve all just been so wonderful to me."

Future social historians could do worse than to choose Andrews as a case study in early 21st-century celebrity, given her experiences with its cons and pros.

Take social media, which, she said, "has been wonderful and has been a nightmare for me."

Companies come to her in part for her 2.6 million Twitter followers and 1.4 million on Instagram and expect her to be active on such platforms to promote their goods and services.

"It’s a second job to try to push your product, to kind of push your brand," Andrews said.

Creeps and miscreants engage with her on the internet for other reasons.

Andrews said Melissa Stark, a sideline reporter role model of Andrews’, recently lamented to her that she missed out on the social media fun when she was working the "Monday Night Football" sidelines in the early 2000s.

"I laughed, and I’m like, ‘Good for you! I can’t imagine what it’s like,’" Andrews said.

Her projects have ranged from both competing in and hosting "Dancing with the Stars," to currently doing a podcast with Fox colleague Charissa Thompson called "Calm Down with Erin and Charissa."

But her biggest venture to date has been a clothing line called "WEAR" that she launched in partnership with Fanatics in 2019. It focuses on sports-related attire designed for women, and it has been a hit.

"It’s massive," she said. "I didn’t know what I was taking on."

Andrews said she saw a need for more women’s-oriented sports clothing when Stoll still was playing in the NHL and she was looking for things to wear.

"I realized there’s a big audience that’s being really ignored here, and they’re women," she said. "I’m a consumer, and I know that there was such a whitespace."

Early on, she said, "We were hearing certain executives of teams were buying out our whole female line of their team to give it to their staff and we were like, ‘Holy [expletive]."

Andrews said she would like to follow the paths of friends such as Michael Strahan – "It’s a shame how he’s just scraping by," she joked – and actor/comedian Kevin Hart in being a multi-faceted media and business brand.

"I really look at 'Stray' and Kevin and it’s like, I want to be the female version of them," she said.

But Andrews said her core commitment remains covering the NFL for Fox.

"I wouldn't be able to have a clothing line, I wouldn't be able to do any of these endorsements, if I wasn't on the sidelines on Thursday and Sunday and doing these features for the pregame show," she said.

"I would never branch off by myself. It’s my love of the game. I always want to be a part of it, not just with a clothing line or endorsements or anything like that. I want to be on the sidelines. I want to be on the field."

Andrews may be biased, but she is a strong advocate for the sideline reporter role, the importance of which has been debated for years. CBS experimented with getting rid of the job a few years ago.

She said she regularly alerts announcers and/or the production team to things she sees and hears.

"I’m the eyes and ears down there," she said. "I think if you took away the sideline reporter role, that's the thing you're missing."

One of those announcers is Fox lead play-by-play broadcaster Joe Buck.

"She is always going. I couldn't be more proud of her," Buck told Newsday. "She has been through a lot and she's come out on the other end. I would describe her as relentless. She over-works for her day job, and this business venture has her full attention as well. Don't underestimate her. She also cares. Simple thing to say. But she cares to be great at all she does."

Andrews has gone from an up-and-comer who admired those who came before her to someone who younger people see as a time-tested role model herself, something she called "bizarre."

But she said now more than ever, she has tried to follow advice Stark gave her about enjoying the moment and the privileged sports vantagepoint she has.

Andrews noted the "grind" of the job over the past couple of decades, and the toll it has taken on her personal life, saying, "It’s been hard for me to have a family, because I've been on the road for so many years."

But she is making it a point to take it all in.

"I’ve had women screaming at me, ‘I love you! I love you! Can you take a picture?’" Andrews said. "Yes! I’ve always been good about that, but I’m really trying to look at it a different way, because, again, you don't know when it's going to be up.

"You don't know when it's going to be over and don't know when the next new thing is going to replace you on the sidelines. So I really try to listen and appreciate what's going on around me.

"I think sometimes we just work so hard, are so focused, we have this tunnel vision, and we don't look around."

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