Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Darren Rovell

Darren Rovell
CNBC Sports Business Reporter

Darren Rovell is CNBC's Sports Business Reporter. He is responsible for both analyzing and reporting on the sports business world on all of CNBC's programming including "Squawk Box," "Power Lunch" and "Street Signs." He is also author of the "Sports Biz" blog on

Since joining CNBC in July 2006, Rovell has interviewed many of the world's greatest athletes including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Phelps and Lance Armstrong. Other interview subjects also include the sporting world's top power brokers including NBA Commissioner David Stern, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry, Major League Baseball President and COO Bob DuPuy, super agent Scott Boras, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, Nike CEO Mark Parker and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.

Rovell reported and anchored the CNBC primetime documentary "Swoosh! Inside Nike," which took viewers through the company's history to the factory floors in Vietnam. It was nominated for an Emmy. He also anchored two other prime-time documentaries, including "Inside Track: Refueling the Business of NASCAR," "As Seen on TV," an in-depth look at the informercial business, "Behind the Counter: The Untold Story of Franchising" and "Business Model: Inside the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue." Rovell won an Emmy for his contribution to NBC's 2008 Election coverage.

Rovell doesn't just report, he does. He finished the New York Marathon in 2004, the same year he ate six hot dogs and buns at a hot dog eating qualifier. He finished fifth in the world in the World Championship of Watermelon Seed Spitting in Luling, Texas, in 2005, and scored one point in a two-minute stint for the Washington Generals at Madison Square Garden in 2008. He is also on the Green Bay Packers season ticket waiting list, has searched for golf balls in the water of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass and has been tutored by the Dallas Mavericks free throw coach. In February of 2008, when Shaquille O'Neal was traded to the Phoenix Suns, he gave Shaq the idea to call himself "The Big Cactus." In 2009, he played then No. 2 ranked Andy Murray in a game of tennis and sat in Kyle Busch's car during the Pennzoil Burnout Competition at the Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte.

Prior to joining CNBC, Rovell served as sports business writer for and reported on the world of agents, stadium deals, endorsements and contracts on ESPN's flagship, "SportsCenter," its investigative show, "Outside the Lines," and had weekly segments on "ESPNEWS."

Rovell is also the author of two business books: "First In Thirst: How Gatorade Turned The Science of Sweat Into A Cultural Phenomenon," and "On the Ball: What You Can Learn About Business From America's Sports Leaders." "First In Thirst" was named by Soundview Summaries as one of the top 30 business books of the year, while "On the Ball," co-written with industry insider David Carter, was named to the Top 25 list of "What Corporate America Is Reading" by the Knight Ridder/Tribune News.

In 2004 and 2007, Rovell was named to Newsbios' "30 under 30," a list of the top 30 national business reporters under the age of 30. He is the only sports reporter in the two-decade history of the awards to have been honored.

Rovell graduated cum laude from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he is on the advisory board for graduate programs in sports administration.


  • Barefoot Running Shoes

    The minimalist footwear market, counting only the foot glove type shoes with no support, makes up four percent of the overall US running shoe business, according to Matt Powell, an analyst for SportsOneSource, a market retail tracking firm. That makes this segment a $260 million business.

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    In the sports marketing world, there's never been someone like Junior, who, no matter what he does gets the kind of fan support that he does. It would be one thing if he had characteristics that allowed him to transcend outside the racing world, but he doesn't.

  • Brooklyn Nets head coach, Avery Johnson

    On the first day that the team officially became the Brooklyn Nets (April 30), there was more gear sold that day than the amount of New Jersey Nets gear for all of the 2010-11 season.

  • PGA Golfer Phil Mickelson attends a press conference at the World Golf Hall of Fame Inuction Ceremony on May 7, 2012 in St. Augustine, Florida.

    When news broke that Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson would be paired together on the first day of the US Open, Phil Mickelson Sr. knew he needed to increase his on-site inventory at tournament host Olympic.

  • Aaron Scheidies started losing his vision as a child. As his vision worsened from his juvenile macular degeneration, to the point of legal blindness, he said he spun into a deep depression that included contemplating suicide. One of the reason Scheidies says he’s alive today is because of his love for triathlons.

  • Stony Brook University

    Sure, George Mason has made it to the Final Four and Butler has played in the men’s college basketball championship game, but none of those achievements quite match the Cinderella story that the Stony Brook baseball team has become.

  • Forward Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    When the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, there likely wasn’t a single person who would have predicted that the team would become the hottest ticket in the NBA.

  • Rafael Nadal celebrates with his trophy after winning the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, on June 11, 2012 in Paris.

    If Rafael Nadal wasn’t from Spain and he was instead Rafael Smith from Georgia, tennis would take over the sports world this morning, even coming off one of the best sports weekends of the year.

  • Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another is ridden by exercise rider Jonny Garcia during a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 1, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

    I'll Have Another comes into the Belmont with as little fanfare as we've seen in recent horses that have won both the Derby and the Preakness. But this is a horse that the horse racing industry has to get behind.

  • Will a Triple Crown Win Save Horse Racing?

    CNBC's Darren Rovell reports what it will mean to the horse racing industry if I'll Have Another wins the Belmont Stakes and captures the Triple Crown.