Sportscaster Maria Marino

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A veteran sportscaster at the age of 34, Maria Marino is forever broadening her skills and expanding her horizons in the profession.

Multimedia on-air personality Maria Marino has a clear philosophy: Take advantage of any opportunity for growth.

“I want to keep pushing boundaries,” the 34-year-old New Jersey native says. “It can be a hard path, but I think it’s rewarding when you keep challenging yourself and putting yourself in situations where you’re going to learn and grow.”

For the past year, Marino has worked for the sports media company Action Network, where she hosts the Monday-through-Friday podcast “Green Dot Daily,” which covers sports from a betting perspective, and the podcast “Buckets” during the WNBA season.

Sports betting has become mainstream and is now legal in more than 30 states. Legalization ensures sports betting is regulated in terms of safety and ethics, Marino says. “There is a lot of technology now to protect users and to maintain the sanctity of sports, and there are also a lot more resources for people with gambling issues,” she says.

Covering sports betting is simply a different side of covering sports, Marino explains. “When you see the numbers — whether it’s the spread or the props available on certain players — it tells you something about the matchup. It tells you who has a star who might be struggling, or whether the offense or the defense on a particular team is dominant or not. It could reflect the weather, or it could reflect an environment, such as certain areas or stadiums that are highly advantageous to the home team,” she says. “I find it helpful to have knowledge of it, and it’s made me more well-rounded as a sports journalist and sports commentator.”

So does she place bets herself? Yes, but in a limited fashion, she says. “I do it selectively, for the equivalent of a cup of coffee. I am not somebody who bets at volume.”

Before joining Action Network, Marino worked for nearly five years for SportsNet New York, where she appeared on “SportsNite,” hosted “Place Your Bets” on NFL Sundays, and reported courtside for the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball broadcasts. The latter experience was especially memorable, she says. “It’s not just about the excellence on the court. It’s how they mold people and mold young women into empowering, responsible and change-making figures.”

One of her “career calling cards” has been championing women’s basketball and advocating for fair and equal coverage for the sport, Marino explains. “Women’s sports — it’s their time. You’re seeing example after example of record audiences on TV, record attendances and record business metrics of all kinds.”

Growing up in Hamburg, New Jersey, Marino loved playing sports with her older siblings and her father, who served as the town’s mayor for 22 years. “I remember from a very young age, just the excitement of walking into a gym on a game day. I still get that feeling to this day, especially for basketball,” says Marino, who lives about an hour away from her hometown.

She discovered journalism in high school, where she became editor of the school paper, and decided to pursue that as a career. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from Ramapo College of New Jersey, and a few years later got her first major sports journalism job as a sports-update anchor for SiriusXM.

Nowadays, Marino is focusing on expanding her breadth of skills, such as by doing more play-by-play coverage and hosting more sports radio.

“I am still extremely hungry. I have been at this for quite a while, and I have had a lot of great experiences — and I am grateful for that,” she says. “I’ve grown a lot of confidence for what I can bring to the conversation, and also to the management side.”

In her free time, she loves to watch sports with her husband, Steve, a former college basketball player, and play competitive beach volleyball.

The above appears in the March 2024 issue of the print version of Fra Noi. Our gorgeous, monthly magazine contains a veritable feast of news and views, profiles and features, entertainment and culture. To subscribe, click here.

 

About Elena Ferrarin

Elena Ferrarin is a native of Rome who has worked as a journalist in the United States since 2002. She has been a correspondent for Fra Noi for more than a decade. She previously worked as a reporter for The Daily Herald in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, The Regional News in Palos Heights and as a reporter/assistant editor for Reflejos, a Spanish-English newspaper in Arlington Heights. She has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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