Q&A with new Wolves Live host Annie Sabo
Annie Sabo, the new host for Wolves Live pre- and postgame on FOX Sports North, took some time out to answer a few questions so Minnesotans can get to know her better. Below she discusses making the move from Florida to Minnesota, her famous father and how he helped get her started on her career path, what she does when not covering sports (hint: more sports) and much more.
You know everyone is going to ask you about moving from Florida to Minnesota, right?
I did grow up in the Midwest, in Cincinnati and went to school at the University of Michigan. I endured, I think, the coldest Michigan winter when I was a junior or senior. So, I’m very used to the cold and I have to admit I do miss the seasons a little bit and am just looking forward to moving to Minneapolis because I’ve heard such great things about it from so many people.
Will it be neat being back in Big Ten country?
Yeah, I’m really excited to be back in Big Ten country. Down here it is Florida and Florida State country, which is great, but I think the Big Ten is the best conference in all of college sports, so I’m really excited to return to Big Ten country. Hopefully I get to see Michigan play Minnesota in the near future. Would love to see that.
Your sister, Brooke, is coming with you to Minnesota. You are sisters so obviously you get along, but why is she moving with you and how much easier will that make your transition?
She came with me to visit (Minneapolis) and she really loved it there as well. I thought the city was awesome. We were joking one day that I was going to go to Minneapolis to interview for this job and my sister was joking with me, “Well, if you’re not here, I might as well go to Minneapolis.” We were just joking back and forth, but then she went on the computer and did some research. She’s going to be doing kind of a recruiting job, so she’s going to come with me. It started out as a joke, but it came to fruition. I’m very thankful that she’s coming with me because, yes, we are extremely close, and it will help to know somebody in a city where don’t know anyone, so we’re looking forward to it. We love the skyways of Minneapolis, the overground tunnels. We think that’s one of the neatest things we’ve ever seen.
I have to ask you about your dad (former MLB player Chris Sabo). How many people ask you about him, or see your last name and ask if you’re related to Chris Sabo?
It happens quite a lot. Probably once a day. But if it weren’t for him I probably wouldn’t be doing this. His career — obviously he dreamt big and went for it, and he instilled that mentality into all of us. He really supports me and supports this next phase of my career. He jokingly told me to say hello to the Twins manager, Rocco Baldelli, for him, which I said I would. I get asked about him quite a lot, but he’s such a great dad and has supported me throughout this career and it’s been a fun ride so far and looking forward to the next chapter in this crazy TV journey.
Is it true he pointed you towards sports broadcasting when you were watching TV and he said why don’t you do that?
Yeah. Funny enough, growing up I loved gym class. It was my favorite thing. I looked forward to it every single day since I was in grade school and, I don’t know, I think I was 12 years old and my parents said what do want to do in college or what do you like in school? I said I like gym. And my mom was mortified. She said you have to pick an academic subject. And I said, well, I guess I’d have to go with English, then. I didn’t really want to know what I wanted to do in college. But, yeah, I was 12 or 13 and we (she and her dad) were watching a football game, which we did every single Sunday. We’d watch college football Saturday, Michigan football [her dad also went to Michigan], and NFL football on Sunday. We saw Erin Andrews on TV – her dad worked with me at WFLA here in Tampa, so that was really neat talking to him about sports related topics. But, yeah, my dad said why don’t you do that. And I said, “OK.” I didn’t even think twice about it, I just went with it. I thought it sounded really fun … and here I am. But he’s the one who asked me about sports broadcasting and going into it.
Sports has really been a big part of your life, hasn’t it?
I grew up playing competitive club soccer but quit that because of concussion-related issues, then I picked up tennis in eighth grade and played throughout high school and went to state in my senior year. I could have played college tennis at smaller universities. I could have played Division 1 at Dayton, funny enough, and stayed in Ohio (she was born and raised in Cincinnati) but I just felt like the University of Michigan is what I worked for forever so I had to pursue that. But I still play tennis to this day. I’m not sure how much tennis I’ll be playing in Minneapolis, maybe I’ll have to find some indoor courts somewhere. I grew up playing sports my entire life. My dad had taken us to tons of baseball fields my entire life, we’ve taken batting practice, fielding balls. My sisters and I go to batting practice for fun. We’re very much a sports family, so that’s what we do for fun. My boyfriend is also a professional golfer, so I golf with him as much as I can. I’m not very good, but I’m working on it.
It seems like you’ve covered a wide swath of sports.
I started in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the biggest thing there was high school football. It’s very much like “Friday Night Lights,” it was very huge there. Then took this job (in Tampa). We were the official station of the Buccaneers so I traveled with the Bucs on road trips. I also worked for the Bucs. I did Jumbotron highlights from across the NFL, so I kind of did two jobs on game day. But, yes, we covered the Tampa Bay Lightning here. Just to be around playoff hockey was incredible. And the Rays, we covered the Rays quite a bit.
How do you get from high school football, the NFL, NHL and MLB to the NBA and the Timberwolves?
Well, I’ve covered college basketball in my career but never lived in a city which had the NBA. So, I really look at it as a new challenge. Something new and exciting for me to tackle. And I think the Timberwolves have so much potential this upcoming year with the head coach and players with so much talent, I’m really hoping for a playoff run, so this opportunity was so incredible. I really do enjoy NBA basketball just never been in a city where I was able to cover an NBA team. It’s going to be so exciting … and I think this really could be a huge year for the organization and I want to be part of that.
It’s going to be so exciting … and I think this really could be a huge year for the organization and I want to be part of that.
How much work have you been doing or have to do as you approach starting this new job?
I’ve probably been doing some every day since I left my job at WFLA. I research every single day, probably for a couple of hours or so, just to make sure I’m ready for the season. But the more I research the more I get excited about this team this year. And I just can’t wait to get there and meet all the players and head coach Ryan Saunders. I think it’s going to be a really fun time.
What else would you like the people of Minnesota to know about you?
Randomly, if I’m not covering a sporting event, I’m most likely at a sporting event for fun. I am constantly laughing. I don’t think I’m never not laughing. And I’m a huge pizza enthusiast, so if anyone has any suggestions as far as pizza places to go in Minneapolis, that would be incredible. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity and can’t wait to get to work and can’t wait to get to know the city and Timberwolves and Twins fans.