Amanda Balionis is a rising star in the sports broadcasting world.
The 32-year-old has a number of roles in the sports world, but most notable that of reporter, anchor and post-round interviewer for CBS Sports’ golf broadcast team. In June, she explained what it was like to join the team:
It’s been incredible. I tell the story, when they first asked me to join the Golf on CBS team, I just felt really lucky and grateful for the fact that anybody felt confident in me to take a risk. Because it was a role that they hadn’t really tried out before.
It was really cool, and I called my parents and told them I was going to be on the CBS broadcast. And I think they thought I was going to be on a digital broadcast or something on a local CBS station. I don’t think they fully understood what I meant. But after my first hit at the Genesis Open, the first text I got was from my mom, and she said, ‘Oh my Gosh, Jim Nantz knows your name!’ I was like, ‘I know!’ So that was a surreal moment. In this business, the CBS Golf team is the best of the best, so I just feel so grateful being a part of it.
Balionis grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and although she has been around golf her entire life, she didn’t play seriously beyond juniors.
“My whole family are golf fanatics. My grandparents met on the golf course. My parents play virtually every day. So I grew up around the game,” she says. “I played junior golf for a few years; my parents loved playing with me, but the minute I had to carry my own bag and walk nine holes by myself, I was like, ‘Eh, you know what, I’m gonna go join the swim team.’”
Nevertheless, her career has brought her back to the sport.
After graduating from Hofstra University with a degree in broadcast journalism in 2008, Balionis worked various sports jobs: Freelance Sideline Reporter for Verizon Fios Sports, Sideline Reporter for the MSG Network, and Sideline Reporter for MSG Varsity.
In 2011, she joined the PGA Tour, working mostly on the digital side of things as a host and reporter before making the move to on-air duties at the 2016 PGA Championship. Additionally, she also works as a Media Correspondent for Callaway Golf, creating content for the company.
While Balionis mostly works in the golf world, she also has a passion for the NFL. A die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, she subbed in as a sideline reporter for CBS during the 2016 NFL season and hopes to get more opportunities in that facet.
“For long-term, the dream gig would be full-time golf and football, no question,” she says. “CBS let me have a sideline game during Week 5 for the Raiders versus the Chargers. So maybe I’ll get another opportunity like that in the near future.”