How Katie Nolan went from blogging in her grandmother’s condo to ESPN’s newest star

Katie Nolan

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Katie Nolan
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Dave Kotinsky/Getty

After nearly five years of insightful monologues and hilarious studio banter, Katie Nolan is leaving Fox Sports for greener pastures.

On Wednesday, ESPN confirmed a Sports Illustrated report that the popular media personality was hired by sports network after she was released from her deal with Fox.

While Nolan’s specific role at ESPN is not yet clear, Nolan has used her passionate rants and incisive commentary to build a huge following. And yet, the Massachusetts native is still a bit of mystery.

Below we will take a look at how Nolan became ESPN’s newest star.


After spending the past four years with Fox Sports, Katie Nolan is headed to ESPN. The company plans to use her across multiple platforms and projects.

Source: ESPN


Nolan has become a recognizable face in the world of sports media, but her path to prominence was anything but traditional. After graduating from Hofstra University in 2009, she moved to Boston and began working as a bartender.

This night was absolutely surreal. Thank you to everyone who made it happen. #Champions

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on

Source: Sports Illustrated


In a 2014 interview with Sports Illustrated, she called bartending “the only skill I can confidently say I have.”

#behindthescenes at that Boston Globe photo shoot

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on

Source: Sports Illustrated


Nolan started her first blog, called “Bitches Can’t Hang,” while living in her grandmother’s condo. The blog focused on news and pop culture.

They made me FANCY

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on

Source: Boston.com


In 2011, Nolan was recruited by Guyism to host a daily video series. She managed to negotiate her way from an initial offer of $750 a month to a full-time gig paying $30,000 a year.

@barhavoc made me a championship belt. BEST. PRESENT. EVER.

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on

Source: Sports Illustrated


At Guyism, she hosted and produced videos on a variety of men’s lifestyle topics — including the ones listed below.


In 2013, Fox Sports invited Nolan to audition for an on-air role. She says the audition went poorly, but the executives hired her anyway, assigning her to “Crowd Goes Wild” alongside Regis Philbin.

Source: Sports Illustrated


Nolan had a memorable reaction when she found out she would be working with the then-82-year-old Philbin: “I was like, What the f—? He’s still doing TV?”

Source: Sports Illustrated


In 2014, Nolan recorded a video of her take on the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, saying that the media was partly to blame for the NFL’s failure to hold the running back accountable for his actions. The video was referenced in a New York Times article, adding to its already wide circulation.

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Katie Nolan/Twitter

Source: The New York Times


While recorded under unfortunate circumstances, the video was a major star turn for Nolan. It earned her widespread praise from a variety of outlets, including non-sports publications.

Source: Elle


The following spring, Nolan got her own show on Fox Sports: “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan.” The show won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Social TV Experience in May 2016.


“Garbage Time” drew tons of praise for its fresh take on the sports talk show format. The Atlantic referred to it as “a distillation of Nolan’s witty, sometimes sarcastic, always hyper-knowledgeable sportscaster persona.”

…whoa.

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on

Source: The Atlantic


She’s conducted some great interviews, including this one with Julian Edelman.

Katie sits down w/ @Patriots WR@edelman11to talk playoffs, animals, and how she can help beat the Texans.pic.twitter.com/ZI1nf7tGKk

@Patriots@edelman11pic.twitter.com/ZI1nf7tGKkJanuary 12, 2017

Source: Twitter


She’s also met countless other athletes and celebrities, from Odell Beckham Jr…


…to Snoop Dogg.

smiling isn't cool anymore he said

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on


Nolan’s fast success created a lot of buzz among sports media circles. On a 2015 episode of the “BS Report” podcast, Nolan and Bill Simmons of Grantland alluded to past negotiations to bring Nolan to the ESPN-owned site. Nolan and Simmons have a number of things in common, including their Boston roots and blogging pasts.

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Mike Windle/Getty

Source: Grantland


Soon after, The Big Lead reported that Fox Sports had been in talks with ESPN to trade Nolan for soccer play-by-play man Ian Darke. Sources said ESPN would have agreed to the deal but reneged when Fox asked them to throw in NASCAR reporter Marty Smith.

back to schoooool ????????

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on

Source: The Big Lead


While Nolan has made her career in sports media, she’s not afraid to try out other arenas. In 2015, she teamed up with United Airlines to host their web series “Big Metal Bird.”


In 2016, she appeared on an episode of Comedy Central’s “Drunk History,” telling the story of how Theodore Roosevelt saved the sport of football.

my brother and I have nothing in common

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on

Source: Comedy Central


“Garbage Time” was cancelled by Fox Sports in February 2017. The network used Nolan sparingly in the months after, and in September, Sports Illustrated reported that she had asked for an early release from her contract.

things are going well here on the set of mighty ducks 4

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on

Source: ESPN


Nolan was hired by ESPN in October. Network executive vice president Connor Schell called her “a rare talent [who] will represent our brand incredibly well as we continue to expand across the digital space.”

Filled in as host for FFU this week, got to spend a lovely 9 hours in LA (#regram from @noushin_)

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on

Source: ESPN


While specific plans for Nolan have yet to be announced, ESPN will surely want to get the most out of their new star. One possibility is that Nolan will become the face of ESPN’s efforts to increase and improve their digital presence.

large father with two huge dingers tonight khed

A post shared by Katie Nolan (@natiekolan) on


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