The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the the Class of 2023, who will be inducted in a ceremony on Dec. 12 at the New York Hilton.
This year’s inductees continue a 17-year tradition of excellence: Val Ackerman, Big East Conference commissioner and first president of the WNBA; Lance Barrow, former CBS Sports producer; Cris Collinsworth, NBC Sunday Night Football analyst; Tom Fletcher, inventor of the super-slo-mo camera and other innovations; Steve Hellmuth, former NBA EVP, media operations and technology; Ernie Johnson, Jr., long-time NBA on TNT studio-show host; Andrea Joyce, leading sports reporter; Tony Petitti, Big Ten Conference Commissioner and former TV-network executive; Jeff Zachary, legendary camera operator.
“More than 150 leading sports-TV-industry executives took part in this year’s voting, our most ever,” says Ken Aagaard, chairman, Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. “Once again, they elected an exceptional class of innovators and game-changers who embody the commitment to excellence, professionalism, and leadership that makes our industry great.”
Val Ackerman: Ackerman has served since 2013 as Commissioner of the BIG EAST Conference, one of the country’s leading college basketball conferences. She was previously an attorney and senior executive at the NBA and founding President of the WNBA, where she helped lead the groundbreaking launch and day-to-day operation of the league in its formative years. She has served as President of USA Basketball and U.S. representative to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and had advised various organizations on women’s sports strategies. She is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
Lance Barrow: Barrow started his career at CBS Sports as a spotter for Pat Summerall in 1976. He worked for CBS Sports his entire career until retirement in 2020. He served as the coordinating producer of CBS Sports golf and produced all of their golf coverage from 1997-2020. He also served as the coordinating producer of The NFL on CBS and lead game producer from 2004-2017 . The 13-time Emmy Award winner has produced the Masters, the PGA Championship, PGA Tour golf, four Super Bowls including Super Bowl 50, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Olympic Winter games, Daytona 500, and worked the US Open Tennis Championships and on The NFL Today. Barrow earned Emmy Awards for his work on the Masters, Golf on CBS, NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, the Daytona 500, multiple Super Bowls including Super Bowl 50 and the NFL Today Show.
Cris Collinsworth: The only NFL analyst other than John Madden to receive a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Event Analyst, Collinsworth has taken home the award nine times. He currently sits alongside Mike Tirico in the NBC Sunday Night Football announce booth. His career began in 1990 when he joined NBC Sports as a game analyst for NFL coverage and selected college-football broadcasts. In 2005, Collinsworth joined the NFL on Fox broadcast booth alongside play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and former quarterback Troy Aikman to form the broadcaster’s lead broadcast team.
Tom Fletcher: Transforming sports production with such innovations as the super slo-mo camera and smaller remote-controlled and RF cameras, Fletcher changed the nature of sports coverage by allowing cameras to be placed in locations that deliver camera coverage with maximum emotional impact. The Fletcher Sports division provides specialty cameras to NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL broadcasters throughout North America.
Steve Hellmuth: In a career spanning nearly 45 years, Hellmuth enjoyed working on a mix of production, live events, systems design, and technology. He recently retired from his role as NBA EVP, operations and technology, in which he developed statistical systems, directed facility construction, and created digital-media archives. Before joining the NBA, he spent two years as SVP and GM of Major League Baseball Productions, supervising the programming and production departments. He also served as SVG Chairman.
Ernie Johnson, Jr.: Ernie Johnson, Jr. is the iconic voice of TNT Sports, a six-time Sports Emmy Award winner and long-time host of TNT’s Inside the NBA studio show. With Johnson as host, Inside the NBA has won five Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Studio Show – Daily. In addition to his 34 years hosting Inside the NBA, Johnson hosts TNT Sports and CBS’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship studio coverage (since 2011) and has been an integral part of MLB on TBS game and studio coverage since 2007. Johnson also cohosts – alongside Charles Barkley – The Steam Room – a weekly podcast on sports news, pop culture and entertainment. Throughout his storied career at TNT Sports, Johnson – son of former longtime Atlanta Braves radio and television commentator Ernie Johnson, Sr. – has been a mainstay in the company’s sports coverage from TNT’s coverage of professional golf including PGA Championship, British Open and PGA Grand Slam to its NFL coverage, Wimbledon and Olympic coverage in the early 90’s. In addition to his hosting accolades, Johnson was recognized as the 2023 National Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association and received the Vince Lombardi Award of Excellence for his efforts in raising awareness about cancer and spreading good into the world, among other honors. Johnson is also a New York Times best-selling author with Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments that Make Life Extraordinary.
Andrea Joyce: During a career that spans nearly 30 years on the national stage, Joyce has spent time at ESPN, CBS Sports, and now NBC Sports, building a reputation for solid reporting on a wide range of global and national sports events. Since 2000, she has been a reporter for NBC Sports Group. She has served in a variety of roles at 12 Olympic Games, including the past eight with NBC. She has served as a reporter for NBA on NBC and WNBA on NBC broadcasts. Joyce debuted as a reporter for ESPN at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Summer Games and worked three Winter Games for CBS, serving as co-host of weekend and Opening and Closing Ceremony coverage at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games and 1998 Nagano Winter Games. She spent nine years at CBS, covering events from the NCAA Final Four to US Open tennis.
Tony Petitti: Prior to becoming commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, Petitti served in senior executive roles for ABC, CBS, and NBC Sports. He helped create the Bowl Championship Series to determine college football’s national champion and joined Major League Baseball in 2008 to create, launch, and oversee programming at MLB Network. In 2015, he was promoted to MLB chief operating officer, replacing Rob Manfred when Manfred became commissioner. Petitti also served briefly as president of sports and entertainment for Activision Blizzard.
Jeff Zachary: The first person to bring Steadicam to NFL coverage and winner of 11 Sports Emmys, Zachary brought a new angle of coverage to countless events. Among the highlights of his 47-year career as a camera operator: Ali vs. Holmes 1980; FIFA World Cup Finals 1994; 26 NBA All-Star Games/Slam Dunk Contests; 12 Super Bowls; 15 Kentucky Derbys; 13 MLB All-Star Home Run Derbys; U.S. Open Golf; 36 years of ABC’s Monday Night Football, ESPN’s and NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Fox NFL, CBS NFL, TNT NFL; nine Presidential Inaugurations; four Olympics; 33 years of boxing; and three America’s Cups. Always an innovator, he introduced the RoverCam at CBS’s PGA Championship, providing a new perspective for sports coverage.