Traditionally, significant sporting events broadcast on CBC Sports were hosted by male broadcasters. A generation of Canadian sports fans grew up with Brian Williams and Ron McLean hosting Winter and Summer Games, Commonwealth Games and FIFA World Cup events. For the 2014 FIFA World Cup of Soccer, CBC has broken the mold and given the reigns to a female sportscaster.
Andi Petrillo is doing a superlative job as the Daytime Host for CBC television’s coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Scott Russell, a host for FIFA 2010 is handling the nighttime coverage. Of note, Petrillo is no stranger to hosting duties. A few months ago, she handled overnight hosting duties for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Elevating to a much more prestigious assignment this time, it reflects her status as a rising star in sports broadcasting.
To a nation of hockey fans, Petrillo is known as the likeable personality who followed in the trail blazing paths of Helen Hutchison and Brenda Irving as a respected female on the adored yet traditionally male-dominated hockey broadcast. Ironically, Irving is also contributing to CBC Sports during their FIFA coverage.
Along with David Amber, Irving is visiting the main venues throughout Brazil with a series of feature stories. Of note, one piece included a journey on the Amazon River, along with having the courage to let a snake around her neck.
With the CBC offering three live matches of the Group Stage on a daily basis, Petrillo is handling the daytime pre and post game coverage in an anchor’s capacity. Joined in the studio by analysts Nigel Reed and Lloyd Barker, coverage includes previews and reactions to the day’s events. Beaming on the screen with great poise and confidence, Petrillo also shows a strong rapport with her co-hosts.
Taking into account that the match commentaries are going to be handled by announcers from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Petrillo is part of the minimal, yet remarkable Canadian content during World Cup broadcasts. Considering that Canada shall be the host nation of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, it would only be fitting to have Petrillo involved with another prestigious soccer event in her own backyard.
Although Canada has not had an entry in the FIFA World Cup since 1986, when the event was held in Mexico, Canada’s strong cultural mosaic results in an emotional investment for its soccer fans, whose nation of heritage may have a spot in the event. Considering that Petrillo is of European ancestry (Italy to be precise), her role as host results in a strong connection with viewers that may also be classified as “new” Canadians; people whose parents or grandparents immigrated to Canada for a better life.
The other aspect that is quickly making Petrillo a renowned broadcaster is the fact that her presence is a boost to the growing impact of women in Canadian sport. Whether it be Christine Sinclair in soccer, Hayley Wickenheiser in hockey, Eugenie Bouchard in tennis or Tessa Virtue at Sochi, Canadian women are continuing to break many barriers in the traditionally male-dominated realm of sports. With Petrillo in the broadcast booth, it is complementing the athletic impact that is challenging cultural norms and providing a new generation of girls with strong women to admire.