Tina DiVilio: My Life, Your Entertainment
Tina DiVilio is in the nations capital calling the shots off the court for the NBA'S Washington Wizards and the WNBA'S Washington Mystics. Today she joins us to highlight how she got her start, the importance of mentorship, and self-confidence.
Can you tell us about how you got your start in sports?
I'll try to keep this long story short. As a kid I was always a huge sports fan - a die-hard Yankees fan to be specific. I also always loved production and saw myself working on the production side of a sports network like ESPN. I'll never forget when I was 12 years old, my now mentor John Franzone showed me what he did for the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays as Director of Entertainment. That was when I realized I knew exactly what my career would be and I have been pursuing it ever since.
While I was in high school, I worked with the Tampa Bay Lightning on a fundraiser for my schools club hockey team. From there, I kept in touch and by the time I was in college I was volunteering every game with the Game Presentation department. I owe a lot to my mentor, John Franzone, VP of Game Presentation for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I learned all of the ins-and- outs of the business from him. Through active networking, I was able to get involved with the Buccaneers and freelance gigs with the YES Network and TBS. Juggling all of those part time gigs was rough, but if you stay focused, you'll realize that the amount of experience you're gaining is incomparable.
What is your current role within your organization?
My current role with Monumental Sports and Entertainment is the Game Entertainment Coordinator for the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics. For the Wizards, I am the lead floor manager; responsibilities include booking the National Anthem and halftime performances, coordinating on-court and video promotions with corporate partnerships and sales, and managing our in-game promotions squad. My role with the Mystics (WNBA) is a little different. Along with game entertainment, I also write the production, public address, emcee, and promotions scripts. On game night, I produce the timeline for the game. I am giving the cues for lightning, videos, PA, you name it. Our job as a team is to keep everybody in the building entertained and engaged, win or lose.
You took a big leap of independence for your career- from Florida to Washington, DC,- do you have advice or words of encouragement for others thinking about leaping for their career?
My advice to others would be to take that leap of faith. Being in Tampa with the Lightning, Buccaneers, and my freelance family was my comfort zone. I was born and raised right outside of Tampa in Holiday, FL. I needed to start fresh and accept the challenge of moving to a new team, new sport, new city. It was pretty cool to start the next chapter of my life in the nations capital.
You've worked in the NFL, NHL, and now NBA/ WNBA; how does one major league compare to the next as it relates to your position?
The differences in my position pertaining to the different leagues varies. The biggest one has to be entertaining a different fan base and demographic. While people may be fans of hockey, baseball, football, and basketball, they expect different experiences with each game. Another huge difference is the timeouts. Each league has different timing. I had the NHL's memorized inside and out. Coming into the NBA was a huge adjustment. If a coach wants to call a timeout - he gets the timeout whenever - and in exchange we have to be ready to entertain and feed off the momentum and go off-script if the moment calls for it.
What challenges have you faced as a women in the sports world- how do you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I've had to face as a woman in the sports world is that it is a male dominated industry. It's easy to be intimidated surrounded by a bunch of men, but you need to have faith in yourself and tell yourself that you can do anything they can if you work hard and stay motivated to be the best you can be.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
I actually have two:
"There may be people that have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do." - Derek Jeter
"The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything." - Frank Sinatra