ESPN's man in Toronto gets to work in Toronto
Saturday's International Bowl at the Rogers Centre may not mean much to most in the GTA, unless there are more closet Northern Illinois or South Florida fans than you'd imagine.
But it will be a big day for ESPN's David Amber, a Toronto guy who will get a rare opportunity to work in Toronto. The former TSN reporter will be working the sidelines at the International Bowl for the second straight year.
Amber is back in Toronto after four years working mostly as an anchor at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. He was quite happy working in the studio, but when his wife expressed interest in returning home to continue her career in the hotel business, he asked ESPN for a change.
Since then, he's been working out of Toronto, commuting to cover events from the NBA finals to the MLB playoffs.
Needless to say, he spends a lot of time in the air. This year alone he recorded more than 100 flight segments. ``Let's put it this way," he says. ``I'm Super Elite with Air Canada."
Despite the heavy travel schedule, he's enjoying his return to reporting.
``It's taken me back a little to what I was doing at TSN for five years," he says. ``I've always enjoyed being down on the field and telling stories."
He still gets to anchor from time to time, though, which scratches another itch.
``There's nothing like the vibe of being in the newsroom on a big news day," he says. ``That's sort of what we get into this business for."
7 years ago, contract at TSN was winding down. Agent looked around and got some interest from ESPN. Did an audition and they hired me.
Amber is part of a growing Canadian contingent at ESPN. He and Dan Shulman both live here, while former CItytv sports anchor John Saunders and Toronto product Mark Jones work out of the U.S. There are more than a few Canadians off-camera, too.
``There's a fair group of us and we make sure we acknowledge each other," Amber says. ``There's a bit of fraternity feeling."
He'll be working Saturday's game alongside another guy with Canadian connections: Analyst John Congemi once threw passes for the Toronto Argonauts.
It's a game that Amber has come to enjoy.
``There were 40,000 people there last year and the atmosphere was something special," he says. ``It gives Canadians a chance to enjoy that U.S. college experience for a day."