Eye on the Ball

Amanda Gifford Lockwood keeps the big picture in mind as a leader of ESPN’s college football coverage. 

Amanda Gifford Lockwood standing in front of a wall of TV screens during NFL broadcast, courtesy


As a producer for some of ESPN’s flagship radio programs in the early part of her career, Amanda Gifford Lockwood ’04 Com, ’04 Edu worked with some of the biggest personalities in sports media, including Colin Cowherd, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, and Dan Le Batard. “You show them that you’re in it with them,” she says. “That you want to help them and support them and figure out how can you work together to make it better.”

In August, Lockwood began to put those lessons in leadership to work in a new position for the company: vice president of production. In her new role, she oversees the network’s production for all of ESPN’s college football and XFL events. Lockwood spent some of her Saturdays this past autumn watching games at home in Connecticut, and a few on-site, including the Texas-Oklahoma game in Dallas in early October. She also watches broadcasts during the week, then offers feedback on how announcers can better use the telestrator or provide insight on fourth-down analytics, for example, or how production crews can use the second box to show replays without missing the next snap live.


Gifford and colleague in press box overlooking football field, courtesy

SETTING THE SCENES: Lockwood’s position as ESPN vice president of production often puts her on-site at some of college football’s biggest venues. Courtesy.

Gifford and colleague in press box overlooking football field, courtesy


With the college football playoff about to transition from a four-team format to a 12-team format beginning next season, Lockwood and her team have already been discussing how ESPN can market the new playoff. “Something we’ve really tried to emphasize at ESPN is, show me the pageantry of college football—the band, the stadium, how big it feels, how much fun it is,” she says. “The flavor of the game.”

Lockwood was one of the first Penn State students to receive a certificate from the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, and she values the relationships she built at Penn State—including with Curley himself—and the hands-on experience she received working for CommRadio. Covering big-time college football as an undergraduate fed her passion, and the relationships she developed have informed her leadership style since. “No matter what groups I’ve been in charge of or the content I’m responsible for, the people have always been the most important,” Lockwood says. “If you have people who respect you and respect what you’re doing, I think the buy-in is better for the department.

“I try to be in it for the people,” she adds, “not just the employees.”