Breaking Through with Bally Sports Midwest’s Erica Weston
Midwest charm takes some getting used to, especially for a West Coast girl.
One of the brightest young stars on the St. Louis sports media scene has been Erica Weston, who covers local sports for Bally Sports Midwest. She serves as a reporter and anchor for St. Louis Blues’ and St. Louis Cardinals’ telecasts on Bally Sports Midwest. She joined the network in June 2018.
Weston came to St. Louis after nearly two years in Tucson, Ariz., where she worked as a sports anchor and reporter for ABC affiliate KGUN. Before this, Weston spent four years in Los Angeles, where she worked in production for Dodgers, Lakers, Galaxy, and Sparks telecasts on Spectrum SportsNet LA and Spectrum SportsNet. Weston also hosted Dodgers programming.
She received her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Loyola Marymount University. Fans can follow Erica on Twitter at @EricaLWeston.
“I love interacting with the fans,” she said during a Zoom interview this past week. The interview was conducted from her home and the distant sounds of buzzsaws and construction on a job nearby provided an occasional distraction. It was about as real of a setting as you can find in today’s pandemic. The only thing missing was the barking puppy.
Weston is lovely, beautiful, and talented. That is easy to see. But behind the microphone is a hard-working, ambitious, and sports nut. She grew up in California and moved to Colorado later as a teen. As a young girl, she was an accomplished dancer. She competed in large, regional dance competitions. She took a job in college as a cheerleader for this organization some know as the Los Angeles Lakers.
She was and always will be, a Laker girl.
When it was announced that she would be moving to St. Louis from Arizona, St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports media critic Dan Caesar did not do her any favors. In his story, he put a lot of focus on the fact that she was a Laker Girl. She didn’t get much attention to the fact that she hosted the Cardinals pregame shows, and she worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a prominent role in their digital media. She was a bright, technologically savvy reporter who knew as much of what happens behind the camera, as what happens in front of it.
“A lot of people have different ideas about what a Laker girl is,” she said. “But they have no idea.”
To say Erica was a dancer doesn’t do this woman any justice, because she was a competitive e dancer, with a special focus on the word competitive. She started dancing at age 3 and specialized in jazz, tap, contemporary, and hip-hop throughout her dance career. She does count Paula Abdul – perhaps the most famous Laker girl of them all – as someone who inspires her.
She passed the Laker comment off as somewhat “unfortunate,” but being the wholly positive person she strives to be, she blew it off. And why wouldn’t she? She’s proud of her association with the Lakers and in no way runs from that part of her past. She made so many lifelong friends and learned a lot about the media business and being a team ambassador. She began her career as an NFL cheerleader with the Denver Broncos.
But, truth be told, she is so much more than just a Laker girl, and she knows it.
While on the sidelines of the LA Forum, for example, she would routinely run into celebrities and media executives. She had to become savvy about business dealings at an early age. She learned how to use this unique LA network to eventually find work as a broadcast producer and on-air talent after graduating from college. The Laker girl thing was the proverbial “pay for college” job for Weston.
“You can’t be a cheerleader forever, I mean, you just can’t,” she joked.
As women across the world are feted for their accomplishments during International Women’s recognitions, Weston applauds the trailblazing women who went before her to create opportunities for her generation. She named a handful of former Laker girls who are currently working in a high-profile on-air position with the NHL Network, MLB Network, ESPN, and national and cable networks.
She grew up in Colorado with a brother, who was a competitive golfer who played on an athletic scholarship at Colorado State.
“He’s really good. He made it the qualifying school,” she said. Weston herself has a competitive streak and even won a long-drive contest when she was just 7 years old. She enjoys skiing and playing golf, among other activities.
While she acknowledges the trials women have blazed and is truly thankful for them, she still sees room for improvement. She pointed to NBC all-female telecast as a first step toward true gender equality in the broadcasting world.
“I hope we can get to a point where people see an all-female cast and they don’t even see it is a big deal,” she said.
Weston will happily jump into a heady, deep subject like glass ceilings, but she’d rather talk sports and covering the St. Louis sports scene.
“The fans here are so very knowledgeable. They know their sports and they know their sports teams, that’s for sure,” she said.
Of course, living in St. Louis, every person who has ever bitten into a gooey-cheese pizza, wants you to sample their specific favorite. She doesn’t get it. The stringy cheese?
“Not for me,” she said.
“St. Louis has so many incredible places to eat,” she said. “When I moved here, I had so many people from the Midwest just flood my feed with recommendations of restaurants I just had to try. And they were all excellent. But the pizza is one I don’t get because there are so many great foods here, why does everyone focus on the pizza?”
One thing is for certain, like all fans, Weston cannot wait until crowds get back to Enterprise Center, as Bally Sports Midwest hosts a pregame fan event before each home game. Thousands of fans pack the tailgate event while they wait for the Enterprise Center’s doors to open. Any Blues fan would obviously love to be inside the building, but if that’s not possible, there is nothing like being outside the area 30 minutes before puck drop. The energy, excitement in the air, is “just so electric.”
With Bally Sports Midwest and the St. Louis Blues, Weston serves as the studio host for the pregame show, as well as intermission shows on the cable network. She has a tremendous smile, a beautiful personality, and an inquisitive nature – all of which make good skills for a reporter to have.
RANDO COMMANDO – random questions for our celebrity guests.
A few notes off the cuff from my interview with Erica Weston:
- Bob Seger or Blake Shelton?
- A: Bob Seger, of course
- John Hamm or Bridgerton dude?
- A: Bridgerton dude all the way.
- Better interview: Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson?
- A: Jackie Robinson just for the stories he would tell.
- Arizona dry heat or sticky mucky humidity of St. Louis? Which is worse?
- A: St. Louis humidity. At least in 117 degrees in the Arizona desert, you can find a shade spot and maybe catch a breeze, The humidity just gets you.
- Cruising the L.A. coastal highway with the top down. What are you listening to? Rock or Rap?
- A: Rap. Probably California Love since we’re in California, it fits.
- What are you binge-watching?
- A: The Crown. I also love true crime stories so if you have any good ones I haven’t; already seen, send them to my Twitter!
- Who will fans remember over the long-term – Craig Berube or Cards Manager Mike Schildt?
- A: Probably Berube because he was the first to win the Cup here. But both men are tremendous leaders for their teams.
- Spaghetti – Do you keep the sauce and noodles separate or mix them all together?
- A: I keep them separate but it’s interesting that you ask because I just had spaghetti last night and I was thinking to myself, ‘why do I keep them separate and not mix it all up?’ “
Thanks for reading!
Now, back to full strength …
A St. Louis Blues blogger, NHL podcaster, and writer, and contributor for the STL Fan Report.