The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Or at least that is what they say.
In the case of Ted Enberg, the apple left on a trip after tumbling to earth, only to re-establish itself near the tree later in life.
We all know who Ted Enberg is. The name Enberg speaks volumes in the sports industry. His father, Dick Enberg, is a hall of fame announcer and well-known within the city of San Diego, the city where the elder Enberg resides and has lived most of his adult life.
Ted Enberg grew up in San Diego. He went to Bishop’s school in La Jolla, and is proud to be a San Diegan and represent America’s Finest City.
In a previous interview with Ted, I caught up with him just after he called an inning of Padre baseball with his father last September. It was his dad’s last season with the team and emotions were running heavy. He told me about his passion for the industry and how it grew. He was hesitant to get into announcing as his father provided huge shoes to fill. In time, as he matured, Ted realized that he is his own entity. He could never be his father, and to expect that is simply foolish. With this self-awareness came a confidence in the young man. He went from someone who had trepidation about getting into the industry, to one of the up and coming announcers of this generation.
I sincerely feel that way. His vast experience in many different aspects of sports has propelled him into the forefront of young talent. Though the Enberg name may have piqued people’s interest, Ted’s talent has opened all the doors that are presently before him.
I caught up with the young announcer as he was preparing himself for an upcoming trip to China. Ted is fluent in Mandarin and is flying to the Far East to once again broaden his announcing skills. He will be in China and is the on-court announcer (speaking Mandarin) in the Rolex Shanghai Masters, which is an ATP Masters 100 tournament. Ted is adventurous and unafraid to sharpen his skill anywhere, even halfway around the world.
Ted Enberg’s personal life is really coming into full swing. He is recently engaged and his professional career is also taking off.
“Its crazy what has happened in a year. I’ve grown so much as an announcer.” Last year, Ted and I conversed as he was doing corporate sales for the San Francisco 49ers. He had just been bitten by the announcing bug, and was timid about his abilities. Whatever questions he had about his skill are now gone as the young Enberg craves more input about his burgeoning craft.
The U.S. Open (Tennis) was recently added to his resume, as Ted was hand-picked to work in New York covering the event. He worked all the way to the quarterfinals, calling multiple events for the international feed. Very respectable work for someone who hadn’t even began a career in broadcasting 12 months earlier. “The USTA put together an all-star broadcasting team.” He quickly set me straight in the fact that he did not consider himself on their level. Ted was more in awe of the team that he would be a part of. “The people that they put together… the analyst, the play-by-play team, the producers.. they were all amazing. I was intimidated going in there initially, thinking I was the new guy on the block. But everyone was so supportive and we bonded. There were no egos. It was a just a bunch of people hanging out and loving the sport of tennis.” Ted played tennis growing up and played pretty far into his teens. His passion for the sport oozes out of him and it transmits well to the audience. He has a skill that cannot be taught. It just needs some refinement.
Dick Enberg is well-known for his versatility behind the microphone. His vast experience in multiple sports is legendary. I was curious to hear from Ted about his father and what kind of feedback he got from him. “He would tune in when he could. And afterward I would get the 10-12 page write-up summary (of my telecast) of what I did and did not do correctly. He will critique the broadcast to the very end.” Ted realizes that his dad is only trying to help his son grow in the industry. Criticism is part of the job and if you cannot take it, then you need to find a different occupation. In fact, Dick Enberg often tells his son “I have yet to have a perfect broadcast in my career.” He believes that. You can always improve and you should never be content with where you are. That kind of work ethic and relentless pursuit of perfection has made the elder Enberg a hall of fame announcer. Ted has a great mentor in his father, and he is soaking up all the knowledge he can. Speaking in regards to his dad, Ted tells me that his father is currently working on a podcast. You can expect a Dick Enberg podcast in the near future, and you know that he will have no trouble finding interesting guests.
“Patience is one of the biggest things I’m learning in this industry. I want to be better tomorrow.” Ted is very eager to progress. He has lofty goals and is well on the way to achieving them. Patience is difficult for someone who started late in an industry. It is a necessity though as the young announcer is learning himself and his abilities. Stanford baseball and calling live baseball games has taught him a lot of patience. He tells me that the game of baseball is the hardest to call because of all the down time and all the preparation that is needed “You cannot just walk into a baseball field and call a game. You have to be prepared.” He has not had an issue so far getting himself ready on game day.
Ted Enberg was hired by the Pac-12 network in February, where he has does baseball and tennis. For Stanford, he calls volleyball, soccer, baseball, basketball and swimming. He credits the Stanford Women’s Volleyball team and calling their games for cultivating his quit wit behind the mic. Multiple sports require a different tone and delivery when addressing the audience. He is in the process of mastering these idiosyncrasies of the craft. “Working with different people in their respective fields has given me inside knowledge. It has helped me develop my vocabulary and I have a better understanding of each sport. I am more well-rounded as an announcer.” Each experience for this young man is a lesson. He takes each new task and challenge and embraces it. That is exactly how you should approach life, and also how you should approach the sports industry.
The topic of conversation turned towards goals and what Ted has set for himself in the near future. “I’m looking to expand with the Pac-12 Network. I would love more opportunities and more assignments. I am also in the process of potentially signing a contract this spring with a major network. It is exciting.” He also tells me that he has ambition to call an Olympic sport like his father did. The Tokyo Olympics are in 2020 and the Beijing Olympics are in 2022, so those are goals for this young man. Being that he is fluent in Mandarin, I would think the 2022 Winter Olympics will certainly be on his radar.
“Whatever I think is going to happen, doesn’t happen.” That is what he left me with. Ted leaves opportunities open wherever he goes. He refuses to try to force his way in any direction, and so far that has taken him to many different avenues of the sports industry. He is content where he is now and realizes that opportunities will present themselves to him. The future is bright for Ted Enberg and there are numerous doors open to him. Whatever door he takes, and where that takes him, will be interesting. As San Diegans, we are all sincerely rooting for him.