Tom Rinaldi might sleep for a week. The veteran feature reporter has had a busy week and a half, covering the World Cup on site in Qatar on top of his other assignments contributing to Fox’s NFL and college football coverage. Rinaldi documented his hectic travel schedule during his recent appearance on Sports Media with Richard Deitsch, circling the globe with visits to Doha, New Jersey, Dallas, Columbus, Kansas City (with a layover in Detroit) and Doha again, all in the impossible span of 10 days.
While Rinaldi’s drive and determination are both admirable, covering five games on two continents with only 18 hours spent at home, it’s debatable whether this is something to be celebrated or a cry for help with Rinaldi, like so many others climbing the corporate ladder, risking his long-term health by burning the candle at both ends. Sustainability and work-life balance are too often neglected in sports media, where employees, fearful of falling behind in a cutthroat field, are frequently subject to insane hours, working nights, weekends, holidays and everything in between in hopes that all their suffering (presented under the misleading guise of “paying dues”) will ultimately lead to their big break, propelling them to wealth and success.
Being trusted with so many responsibilities is a tremendous source of pride for Rinaldi, an established and respected name in sports journalism with a proven track record of poise and professionalism across multiple decades at ESPN and now Fox. Before moving to Monday Night Football full-time, Joe Buck had a similarly chaotic schedule, often announcing NFL and World Series games in the same weekend. The same could be said of Mike Greenberg and Stephen A. Smith, who can be found spouting takes on ESPN (with only slight exaggeration) at all hours of the day. Perhaps this is how companies justify paying their on-air talent seven and eight-figure salaries, working them arguably to the point of overexposure in an effort to get their “money’s worth.” But it’s not a lifestyle many would aspire to, which is why burnout rates and turnover are so high in sports media relative to other industries.
Rinaldi, by all accounts, relishes his role as Fox’s foremost reporter, with assignments ranging from the MLB All-Star Game to the World Cup. He’s also an enormous talent with the polish and gravitas to tackle any subject. Let’s just hope he isn’t working himself to an early grave.