Who is Antonietta Collins?
Antonietta "Toni" Gonzalez-Collins is a Mexican-American news reporter and anchor on the ESPN show ‘Sportscenter.’ She is the daughter of the famous Mexican journalist and author María Antonieta Collins. She was in high school when she visited her sister in Canton, Ohio and found her calling on the University of Mount Union’s campus where she would eventually pursue media studies. She was a diligent student, and following graduation, she began to work as a production assistant in Miami. Later, she reported for CBS Sports Radio affiliate in St. Petersburg, Florida, covering the news on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the University of South Florida football team. She landed her first on-camera gig in 2011 at the Univision’s Noticias 48/FOX2, the dual language news station in McAllen, Texas. In 2013, ESPN hired her as part of their digital team. Within three years, she became one of the hosts of Sportscenter, an internationally successful show.
Antonietta Collins has been a bilingual since she was nine years old, a useful skill that helped her secure her first job as a production assistant at Univision in Miami, which gave her the chance to collaborate with producers of national programs such as Nuestra Belleza Latina, Premios Lo Nuestro, Premios Juventud and Primer Impacto. The CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg hired her after this as a sports reporter.
In 2009, she moved to Rio Grande Valley, Texas to work as a news reporter for the Spanish channel KNVO TV 48 Univision and Fox2 News. Covering stories on immigration and drug-trafficking on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border, she was a reporter for the 5 p.m. Spanish newscast, a reporter and later anchor of the 9 p.m. news in English, and a reporter again for 10 p.m. Spanish newscast. She was also often asked to fill in as a sports and weather anchor.
She then anchored and reported for Univision’s Dallas affiliate Deportes 23, where she was given more responsibilities. She did pieces on Major League Baseball’s ALDS, ALCS and World Series, the Dallas Cowboys, the NBA postseason and Finals, FC Dallas, and the Dallas Stars. Besides this, she produced Univision 23’s local sports show Accion Deportiva Extra, on which she served as the anchor herself. She was promoted as a sports anchor for Despierta America, Deportes’ morning show. She served in the same capacity for the network’s magazine show Primer Impacto and for UniMas Network’s Contacto Deportivo.
In September 2013, ESPN came calling, and she was more than ready to answer. Initially a member of the digital media team anchoring news and analysing video segments in every sports category for ESPN.com, her role in the network soon increased to involve enterprise reporting and interviews for features. She guest-hosted ‘Baseball Tonight,’ as well as hosted the Spanish show ‘One Nación’ on ESPN Deportes before she joined the revamped morning line-up of Sportscenter in February 2016.
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Antonietta Collins’ parents were originally from Veracruz, Mexico. At some point, they moved to Mexico City, where she was born on November 22, 1985. She has an older sister. In 1992, the family left Mexico for the US and settled in Miami. Her parents divorced soon after, and in 1995 her mother remarried a naval architect named Fabio Fajardo who died of kidney cancer in 2006.
It was during a summer vacation that she stayed with her sister in Canton, Ohio, where the older Collins girl had gotten a job. Still a senior in high school, and yet with a clear idea what she wanted to do with her life, Antonietta visited the University of Mount Union to assess if it suited her needs. As it turned out, she loved the campus and they were offering the major she was looking for. She finished school and enrolled at the university as a media studies major.
She developed a long-lasting relationship with her professor Mark Bergmann, who was the manager of WRMU 91.1 FM, of which she was a member. He inspired her to be self-confident and his passion for journalism deeply affected her, and she, in turn, strived to live up to his expectations and never let him down.
She was well-aware of the value of practical experience outside the class, and to that effect, she, still a college student, interned for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the CHL minor league hockey team Youngstown SteelHounds. This eventually led to her interviewing players before and after a game, her first on-camera experience. She graduated with a major in media studies and a minor in sports management.
Owing to her dual citizenship, she was included in the U-19 Mexican women’s national soccer team.