MCS alum Ryan Gordon on his career in sports broadcasting!
By: Sophia Possidente
Photo Credit: Max Scheide
Ryan Gordon graduated from UMBC’s Media and Communication Studies program in 2016. Now, he works as a producer for Overtime Elite, a Brooklyn-based social media production company that covers grassroots basketball leagues. I spoke to Ryan about his professional life since graduation, his favorite parts about sports broadcasting, and what he gained during his time at UMBC.
Q: What have you been doing since graduation?
A: I worked a couple of retail jobs and landed a remote government job at one point through a family friend. The work that provided me with the most value, however, were the freelance gigs I did on the side in the sports media world. Making highlight tapes, telling stories of local athletes, etcetera. Those opportunities I carved out for myself ended up leading me to where I’m at today.
Q: Where do you work now? What are your job responsibilities?
A: Currently, I am a producer for Overtime Sports, Inc, a social media company based in Brooklyn, NY that built an enormous following off of being the first to market with grassroots basketball highlights. Last year, they launched the first ever American Professional basketball league that pays high school athletes to play. Each athlete gets a minimum of 100K and an opportunity to take an alternate path to the big leagues.
Before the league began, I was flown around to different parts of the country filming day-in-the-life videos with up and coming athletes like Paige Beuckers. But when this league popped up, my role shifted a bit and I became responsible for filming scenes for a docu-series that we were producing about the entire operation. Additionally, I would help film our live games and continue to produce and edit one-off storytelling pieces.
Throughout the first couple of months, I decided to start vlogging my experience at the league to give my personal audience a much clearer picture of how the whole endeavor worked. The chief content officer saw this and gave me the opportunity to launch my idea on the company’s YouTube channel. So now my responsibility is to grow the league’s second YouTube channel (that focuses on off the court content with an all-encompassing vlog), to give our social team content that they can use for the various platforms, and to develop personality pieces that can be featured in our live broadcasts.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: The best part of the job is being able to wake up every day and be myself. I set my own schedule, figure out what stories I want to tell, and build strong relationships with the young players and staff members in the building. I always say that the toughest part of the job is feeling like I’m not being creative enough, and if that’s the only issue I have, I’ll take it.
Q: Tell us about the "ref cam" you're developing as a new addition to sports broadcasting.
A: The beautiful part about working here is that the focus is always on innovation. The executive producer for our long form content asked if I’d be interested in this new idea that was brought to the table and it was a perfect fit. The goal is to be able to interview players, refs, coaches, and more while the game is in play. It’s really cool. Our chief content officer is all about giving our fans access like they’ve never had before, and what better way to do that than by giving them insight on what players' thoughts are during a free throw!
Q: What has been your process for developing this project?
A: Due to the nature of my job responsibilities, I’ve been able to build solid relationships with the players. So, I try to keep my questions succinct and as casual as possible. As a hooper myself, I don’t want to disrupt the flow of the game so I try to balance comic relief and asking questions that articulate what I feel they’d be focused on in that particular moment. As I walk around the court, I’m always looking for holes I can fill in to provide that high-level access.
Q: What do you hope this project will contribute to sports broadcasting?
A: My hope is that this will spark a revolution within the sports world. I’ve always wanted to be as close as possible to the game and this is about as close as anyone in the world can get. If I could be a pioneer in this regard and help other organizations get their version of this up and running, that would be amazing.
Q: What are your future plans for this project?
A: Ideally, I’d like to take this show on the road. There’s a lot of money and opportunity in contract work. More importantly, it’s a unique niche that could build up a heck of a social media following! As a husband and a father now, if I could get paid a substantial amount of money to be a personality - count me in!
Q: How has studying Media & Communications prepared you for your career?
A: Being granted the flexibility to be very creative in my assignments. Also, the history of the media landscape is always interesting. Learning what people did before you is always a great way to anticipate what’s coming next and how you can innovate. Joining a program that allows you to flex that creative muscle played a large role in my approach to the corporate world. I’ve found that nobody really knows the answer and the best ideas always win.
Q: How has attending UMBC shaped you, either as a person or as a professional?
A: Being that it’s a commuter school, UMBC really helped me accept who I am as a person. I was a bit of a loner and relied on myself a lot to navigate from day to day. There’s a lot of smart people there and the folks you rub shoulders with are the people that may be able to help you down the line! It’s an honor to have a degree from there and I hope to be one of those people that can pull up the next kid that needs a boost.
Posted: February 23, 2023, 10:09 AM