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June 3, 2009 > Sports coverage is his game

Sports coverage is his game

Hayward native driving CSN Bay Area to the top

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo

While covering news for a radio station in Reno, Nevada, Ted Griggs had a revelation:

"Every morning I'd get up and read the sports page and go to work," said Griggs. "Then I thought, 'What am I doing? Why don't I just do sports?' "

And with that in mind, Griggs' career path was chosen. Fast-forward approximately 30 years and Griggs now sits in an office on the second floor of 370 Third Street in San Francisco as vice president and general manager of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

As with most professional pursuits, it took time. In fact, his initial curriculum at then California State University - Hayward, were more aligned with a career as a marine biologist. Griggs, a Hayward native and graduate of Moreau Catholic High in 1978, decided it wasn't for him.

"I went to Cal State Hayward for a year and a half, and when I decided broadcasting was really going to be (my career)," said Griggs. "The best broadcasting school is San Francisco State, so I transferred over and went to school there."

An anchor for the student-run news program at SF State in his college years, Griggs remained a "talent" for the first three or four years of his broadcasting career. He knew, however, that his future lay behind the scenes.

"I started to figure out I did a fine job as a talent but I wasn't excellent," Griggs explained. "As a producer I felt if you got 100 producers, I was [in] the top one or two; if you got 100 talent, I was [in] top 30 or 40.

"I wanted to be where I was excellent," Griggs continued. "And that ended up being a good decision."

While serving as Vice President of Programming and Operations, the network was Fox SportsNet Bay Area. At the time of his switch to vice president and general manager in 2007, Comcast bought a majority share from Fox SportsNet, changing the name to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

"I took over at the same time Comcast came in. And Comcast has a different way of doing things," Griggs said. "It's a company that believes in investing and building the product. And it sort of matched up with my abilities."

A massive overhaul of staff, facilities and programming has transformed a 30-person staff to 120 and facilities from roughly 11,000 square feet to a 37,000 square foot, state-of-the-art studio. New programming, includes "Chronicle Live," airing every day at 5 p.m., and "SportsNet Central" at 6 and 10 p.m. and midnight seven nights a week.

Giants and A's game coverage has increased to 130 games for the Giants and 145 A's games. "Everything has been about growth and it is good because that's what I do," Griggs said. "I produce product. That's what I am in my heart and soul. And that's been very fortunate." Griggs not only continues to achieve in his profession but takes time to share with others. Even with recognition as one of the best producers in the nation, he takes time to visit his roots, returning to Moreau to talk with students.

Griggs and his news team have been recognized by their peers as one of the best regional networks - awarded with 35 local Emmy and three Beacon (cable TV's highest award for public affairs excellence) awards. But he doesn't plan to sit on his laurels. "We have to do a better job of giving our programs good context," Griggs continued. "It's sort of like putting icing on the cake and putting some sprinkles on it. It's still good cake, but making it more appealing, and more memorable. He added, "10, 15, 20 years from now I think the people here who are here right now will be able to say 'We created that.' And that's phenomenal."

"I love this job," Giggs said. "When I got the job, I said it was a dream job ... I get to come to work and have fun every day. That's pretty good!"

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