Picks & Parlays host Chelsa Messinger felt like the sports broadcast industry was not her calling.
“Originally, I was going to college for law school,” she said. “However, I’m a creative person. I felt as though law school was going to stifle that.”
She attended North Carolina State University and began working for the school newspaper, which she really enjoyed.
“I started covering sports for the paper, and everyone told me to go into broadcast because it was an easier field to get into. I didn’t want to go into television, but I felt like it was the most logical career choice.”
Messinger accumulated a long list of different jobs over the next few years, traveling to four states and covering various teams.
“I began in Raleigh, North Carolina at a TV station before moving to Montgomery, Alabama doing an unpaid internship. I got my first real job in Columbus, Georgia as a sports director and got to cover two national championships with Auburn and Alabama football, which was super cool.”
From there, she moved to Fort Myers, Florida for three years at WINK TV, an affiliate for CBS. She covered Spring Training with the Red Sox, Twins and Rays while also reaching the Dolphins, Bucs and Florida Gulf Coast.
“When you’re at this young age, and go into press conferences, you see all these old, male beat writers and there you are, a 22-year-old blonde girl,” she explained. “It’s harder to get respect, but you have to earn it. You can complain about it or do your best to prove people wrong.”
While working in numerous cities and gaining that respect, Messinger was missing something: her husband.
“My husband played baseball professionally for ten years. Towards the end of my contract at WINK, he was playing for the Cubs. They were in the middle of a playoff push, and I was still covering high school football in Florida.”
She and her husband, Jake Buchanan, did long distance for seven years, which Messinger considered way too long.
“At some point, you have to make decisions based on your happiness,” she said. “So, I took a year off and moved to my husband. Although I was having a great time with him, finding jobs after that year was hard. In the back of mind, I was thinking I was never going to find another job.”
The couple moved to Reno, Las Vegas where Buchanan played Minor League Baseball. Because short-term housing was hard to find, they ended up living at a casino.
“We were at the casino five nights a week. We would gamble and bet on things, so that’s how I got involved in sports betting.”
In the past, Nevada was the only state that allowed sports betting to be legal. Recently, more states have made it legal to place bets on sports, and Tennessee has made it legal online only on November 1.
“I think you should be able to spend your money how you want it,” Messinger stated. “It’s like Disney World. You’re paying for the experience. You think of the adrenaline rush during a game, which is like kids going to an arcade. There’s obviously bigger problems like money laundering, but for the basic better who’s placing five dollars on a game, I don’t see an issue with it.”
With tragedies in Nashville like the tornado, coronavirus and the decline in tourism, Messinger claims sports betting is arriving perfectly.
“States can tax it and put that money to good use. And trust me, no city or state has been hit harder than Nashville. I think sports betting is coming at the right time because of our economy.”
Messinger realizes just how lucky she is to have jumped into the sports betting world early before it started to explode.
“There were years when I thought I wouldn’t make it,” she said. I thought I would never work again. However, I don’t think I could do a local TV job and have a kid. Now, I have this great job where I work at home four days a week and get to spend time with my baby. When sports betting popped up, I’m so glad I was able to join early and be a part of it.”
Featured image via Chelsa Messinger
More Nashville Women in Sports Media:
Emily Proud: from the Belmont soccer field to your living room TV
Lyndsay Rowley’s fork in the road that led her to the Nashville Predators
Dawn Davenport’s lost job that brought her to Nashville
How Teresa Walker went from covering the county jail to NFL Sundays
Courtney Lyle finds courage through her dad and in front of the camera
Tatum Everett: From New Orleans to NFL Sundays in Nashville
Laura Okmin’s “purpose” has her locked in on the present
How Kayla Anderson bounced back in Nashville after two lost jobs
Amie Wells and the Titans Tattoo bet she made with herself