Crandall Hits The Ground Running
For someone who wasn’t exposed to a whole lot of television as a child, Ann Wells Crandall sure knows how to make a TV network grow.
The Pac-12 Enterprises Senior Vice President of Business and Development grew up in Upstate New York, where her family could pick up only one network on its television. Crandall knew a lot about what was on CBS every day, and not much else.
But after spending two years at DIRECTV and a couple of other sports entities, Crandall was hired in December to lead Pac-12 Enterprises’ business development efforts.
“We literally only got one channel,” Crandall said. “I watched what was on CBS in the 70s. I watched golf, tennis and the NFC. I never watched the AFC and I never watched baseball.”
That’s actually not entirely true. Crandall got to watch a lot of baseball in person. Her father, Jack, was the business manager for the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A team in Elmira, N.Y. It was with her dad that Crandall fostered her passion for sports.
“My father is and was a huge sports fan,” Crandall said. “He’s an encyclopedia about sports. My father and I are really, really close. To be able to spend that time alone with my dad was really cool.”
After working at DIRECTV, Crandall took a job with the NBA working in a variety of business roles. From there, she leveraged her passion for running and business acumen to become the executive vice president for the New York Road Runners, a premier running organization that puts on the New York City Marathon.
Crandall spent 12 years with the Road Runners before coming to the West Coast in December. Given her investment in the sport, she was especially impacted by last month’s Boston Marathon bombings.
“It was very hard for me,” Crandall said. “I would have been sitting in those bleachers. I had 10 people from the Road Runners run in it. I was worried about them. I was worried about the employees up there.
“The bombs went off at the four-hour mark. That’s when the majority of the average runners come in. Those are the people that trained the hardest. They are not in as great shape as some other people. Some of them are doing it to raise money for other people. Never in my life did I think this could happen.”
Crandall said she began thinking about doing something else when she ran into former Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson, who worked with Crandall at the NBA in the mid-1990s. They started more seriously last fall about talking about the possibility of her joining the Pac-12, and she decided to make the change.
Crandall hadn’t worked much in collegiate athletics. That opportunity, along with her previous relationship with Stevenson, helped her make the decision.
“What I’ve noticed is how passionate people are about college sports,” Crandall said. “The people here are very proud of the conference and what it stands for. I love that passionate energy. I thrive on that.”