Syndicated Sports Broadcaster Donal Ware of BoxToRow.com, a website specializing in covering athletes from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is questioning the NFL's decision not to give him a press pass to the Super Bowl.
Ware says that while he received a spot on radio row in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the last two years have left him wondering: What did I do wrong?
In 2007, he was named the Central Intracollegiate Athletic Association's broadcaster of the year. His market share has been growing every year and he is now syndicated to 100 radio stations, including 10 NFL markets, not including the seven stations in the Carolinas. He estimates he reaches nearly 2 million listeners.
"We reach your not so typical sports fan," he told The Skanner News.
Box To Row (From Press Box to Press Row) presents a sports talk radio that centers around – but isn't limited to – athletes that attend or attended HBCUs (listen live on his website on Saturdays from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern Time) . His website offers a blog and other statistics as well.
He says he's interviewed many NFL greats on his show – including Tony Dungy, Demarcus Ware and retired running back Jim Brown, among many others.
But for the NFL, the requests for press access are just too numerous.
"There is a large media contingent that cover NFL teams on-site each week throughout the season – games, practices and media availabilities – in addition to devoting significant resources throughout the year at other events, including the NFL Draft, training camps, and community appearances," says Darlene Capiro, a media coordinator for the NFL. "Even for media that fall into this category, we are unable to accommodate all the requests we receive."
She says that Ware never picked up his onsite pass for the Carolina Panthers last season and that "our priority is accommodating media outlets that cover our teams on-site on a regular basis."
Ware was also told he needed to create original content to qualify for a pass. But nearly everything Box To Row produces is original content, he says.
"I'm not sure if they're fully aware as to what it is we do," he said.
Ware says he is reaching out to other broadcasters and supporters to try and get his pass to the Super Bowl XLIV in North Texas this year. Ware says that being onsite is absolutely essential to providing quality coverage of the event.
Radio Row – typically a large room where broadcasters are set up to conduct interviews and broadcast – provides a unique opportunity to meet with a variety of current and past NFL players, coaches and others.
"I really do hope we get a press pass," he said. "I feel like this is where we belong. We've put in the work for the past five and a half years."
Visit http://www.boxtorow.com/superbowl/superbowl_xliii.php to listen to Ware's 2009 Super Bowl coverage.