The hearts of Philly sports talk radio fans were shattered earlier this summer when Natalie Egenolf announced her departure from The Mike Missanelli Show on 97.5 The Fanatic, her professional home since 2016.
Though Egenolf enjoyed her time working with Missanelli and producer Tyrone Johnson, an enticing opportunity fell into her lap – helping to spearhead Parx Casino and Parx Sportsbook’s brand new digital media division as an on-air host, producer and brand ambassador.
“We’ll be producing original digital content daily, including original series and segments, lifestyle features, podcasts, expert analysis on your favorite teams around the world and more,” Egenolf said. “If you’re assuming this is going to be your average sports gambling programming, think again.”
This fresh landscape of sports media has been in the making for several months, according to Matt Cullen, senior vice president of Parx iGaming and Sports.
“We’ve seen the shift in the way consumers, sports betters and sports fans are consuming content and accessing that content not typically through a TV anymore. They’re accessing it on social channels, watching highlights and stories, not just about sports but really about anything,” Cullen said. “From a content standpoint, the lines have really been blurred between sports betting information and sports news. They’re really one in the same now, and our aim is to push out some really compelling content led by Natalie.”
When the digital media division first began to take shape, Cullen knew he had to convince Egenolf to come on board.
“She’s an extremely well-known personality here in the market. As part of our strategy, we wanted to find some people that have a really nice and meaningful following on social media because that’s where people are accessing this content,” said Cullen. “Natalie really fit the bill.”
Initially, Egenolf wasn’t so sure about the job.
“I thought it was what we see with the DraftKings, just how a lot of gambling content is focused on the lines and odds and stuff. When I learned about what they were trying to build here, it really piqued my interest and seemed like the next step for my career,” she said. “I’ve seen the landscape change over the last year, everything shifting to a digital space, particularly in sports media. This is the next wave of where the sports media is going and it felt like the right move for me.”
Egenolf admitted that it was difficult to leave behind her “home” of Philadelphia sports talk radio. After getting her foot in the door as a receptionist for WIP-FM at the age of 19, she dabbled in all areas, from marketing and sales to production and on-air hosting. She never stopped climbing the ladder of the industry that she fell in love with as a child, when she’d drive around with her father listening to the stations she’d one day be employed by.
“Being a born-and-raised Philly girl, I was born into the fandom,” she said. “It’s so unique to Philly, right? I don’t know if there’s any other city that’s as passionate about their sports teams as we are. It was a happy surprise that I was able to make it in my hometown when a lot of people have to move and travel around the country. I just kept taking any opportunity that came my way.”
When she was offered the chance to lend her digital media talents to Parx Casino, she felt it was time to branch out. Egenolf is excited to create compelling content, including roundups, Twitter reactions to sports news and announcements, longer-form videos on YouTube and clips on Tik Tok.
“Wherever sports fans are, we want to be front and center in front of them and hopefully pushing out stuff that they wait for and want to consume once it’s released,” said Cullen.
In addition to Egenolf, Parx announced that Dei Lynam, who has covered the NBA for the last 25 years for Comcast Sportsnet, is joining the team. Parx also added Sam Wilson, who recently worked at 97.5 The Fanatic and currently hosts the television show Down the Line with Charlie & Bo, airing on NBC Sports Philadelphia. The trio will cover the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, college football, European soccer and more.
“We plan to inform, captivate and entertain our audiences, not just hit viewers over the head with betting odds,” said Egenolf.
Daily content can be seen on Instagram and Twitter at @parxsportsbook as well as Egenolf’s social media accounts.
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