Sports Career Spotlight

We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Hunter Nickell

Hunter Nickell, Executive VP & GM

Speed Channel


Age: 48
New title: Executive VP & GM, Speed Channel
Previous job: Senior vice president and general manager, FSN South
First job: Cutting lawns
Education: Bachelor of arts, mass communications, Denison University
Resides: Relocating to Charlotte
Grew up: Born in Detroit, grew up in Connecticut and California
Brand most admired: Detroit Red Wings
Favorite vacation spot: Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Last book read: “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown
Last movie seen: “Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith”
Favorite movies: “Slap Shot” and “The Buddy Holly Story”
Favorite musician: Bruce Springsteen

Hunter Nickell was with SportsSouth (now FSN South) at its inception in 1990 and helped it become the nation’s largest regional sports network.

He has similar hopes for Speed Channel, where he hopes to build on the network’s recent success. Nickell will be responsible for all business and programming operations at Speed.

He spoke recently with staff writer Brandon McClung.

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
To keep building on the momentum that the Speed Channel has established over the last four years.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
It would have been when I moved from Boston to Atlanta to join a small band of people who were launching the SportsSouth network.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
I was a high school English teacher and hockey coach for five years … and the biggest disappointment I have faced came when we lost in the state championship ice hockey game.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into this industry?
Show up early and stay close to the people whose styles get you fired up in seeing how they operate.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in sports today?
I hope to see the NHL playing hockey come October and I believe that they will be playing by then.

What is one element that you would like to change about the sports industry?
I would not want this changed but want it to be sustained. I don’t want anything to ever get in the way of the way a young person feels when he goes to his first race or baseball game or hockey game — the feeling of it being bigger than you ever imagined. It’s the type feeling that gives you goose bumps. It’s the same feeling that I had when I went to my first game.

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