— Mickey Wittman,
known as the “ father of sports aerial broadcasting” for his work in
developing the Goodyear blimp’ s role in sports television, will be
inducted in to the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Wittman joined Goodyear in 1968 and over the course of his 28-year
career helped to burnish the reputation of the Goodyear blimps for
providing aerial coverage of the biggest events including some of the
most viewed sports telecasts in history.
Since 1955, Goodyear continues to be the leader in providing aerial
coverage of sports and entertainment events. Working closely with
television networks, its three U.S.-based airships provide aerial images
of stadiums, arenas and city skylines across the country. More than 60
million Americans get a first-hand look at a Goodyear blimp every year,
and millions more see the airships in the U.S. and around the world via
During his career, Wittman managed blimp television coverage of more
than 2,500 live events including 30 World Series, 24 Super Bowls, five
Olympics, 17 Orange Bowls, more than 200 PGA events, 22 years of Monday Night Football,”
26 All-Star Games, eight Cotton Bowls, seven Rose Bowls, 28
Indianapolis 500s, 22 Daytona 500s, 18 years of horse racing’s Triple
Crown, 13 U.S. Open tennis tournaments, 20 heavyweight boxing
championships, 300 college football games, 12 NCAA Final Four basketball
tournaments, 240 NASCAR races, and hundreds of other sporting events
and sports-related entertainment shows in North America and Europe.
Wittman also managed aerial coverage from the blimp of a number of news-making events. These included the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series and the aftermath of the bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
He also directed activities as the Goodyear blimp’ s aerial sign was
used to provide public service messages to residents of south Florida in the wake of Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Wittman joined Goodyear’s Public Relations department in 1968 and moved to its blimp base in Houston, Texas
in 1969. He left the company in 1974 to pursue other interests but
returned in 1978 as manager of broadcast and films in Goodyear’s New York
office. In 1991 he was named manager of airship promotion and, in 1997,
manager of global airship public relations. He retired in 2001and went
on to work as director of broadcast services for another aerial camera
In addition to Wittman, this year’s Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductees include NBC Sports broadcaster Al Michaels, former ESPN Chief Operating Officer Scotty Connal, Managing Director for CTV Outside Broadcasts Barry Johnstone, NFL Senior Vice President Howard Katz, ESPN Executive Vice President Chuck Pagano and the YES Network's Joe Schiavo.
The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame honors excellence and lifetime
achievement in the areas of management, production, technical
operations, leagues/teams, manufacturers/vendors, engineering and on-air
This will be the fourth hall of fame honor for Wittman, who was
inducted into the Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Legends in 2013,
the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and New York's Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
In 2014, Goodyear will embark on the next chapter of its airship
story when the company launches its new generation Goodyear NT airships,
the first of which is nearing completion at the company’s Wingfoot Lake
hangar in Suffield, Ohio. Test flights on the new airship are expected to begin in early 2014 with a formal launch planned for later in the year.