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Hoop Story #031: Brittany Valenzuela Cohen, Pac-12 Network Producer + Game Operations and Entertainment for Golden State Warriors

Hoop Story #031: Brittany Valenzuela Cohen, Pac-12 Network Producer + Game Operations and Entertainment for Golden State Warriors

How did you fall in love with Women’s Basketball?

Sports are my outlet; my breath of fresh air when I need it the most. Some of my fondest childhood memories are cheering on my favorite teams.

I’m from the Bay Area, where I grew up watching the Raiders and the Warriors. My papa would take my brother and me to games and pay about $20 for seats at Oracle (RIP). I’m lucky enough to say I have worked for both of my childhood teams, and the Warriors, specifically, for the last four years. So, basically, I was raised to be a HUGE sports fan. 

My appreciation for women’s basketball really took root in college, where I was a cheerleader, and honestly, it was because I loved watching my friends hoop. I cheered for San Jose State, and unfortunately, we didn’t have a fan atmosphere—I always wanted a better support system for the women who were playing. Other than family, I remember two college students that regularly came to cheer the team on; it was disheartening to see the lack of support for the women’s squad compared to the men’s.

When I started working at the Pac-12 Network, that’s when I realized I had an opportunity to be a voice. I always considered myself a football girl, and a big Warriors fan, but it was players like Kelsey Plum and Sabrina Ionescu that made me realize I was missing out on this really exciting part of this sport. As a producer, it’s my job to tell the stories, to try and create whatever impact I can. My goal is always to uplift women, to be impactful in an industry dominated by men, and to shine a spotlight on the legacies these women are creating as best I can. 

And trust me, I’m still learning as I go.

 


Talk about your role as a producer for the Pac-12 Network, what are you passionate about?

I always say that the outcome of every game is the culmination of a series of individual plays. Some go your way, some don’t. Some plays go straight down the lane for a layup; some get blocked at the rim. These moments, plays, and games are what make up life. I have the amazing opportunity to produce content that honors and showcases that relationship. I work with student athletes and coaches to learn about their unique journeys, and I share them with fans who can relate.

Basically…creating an impact. Storytelling: I think it’s something that video production is falling away from. People are so focused on the choppy, in-your-face graphics (which I also enjoy) that they let the story fall to the wayside. It’s all-encompassing, but the story should always be the focus, whether it’s for a hype piece or a feature, the story is why we’re here, so move us, teach us something. SHOW US! 

 

 

How was it working with Sabrina Ionescu on Media day and how do you think she is pushing the game forward for women? 


I only worked with Sabrina briefly during her time at Oregon when she attended Pac-12 Media Days, but she was poised and fun to work with.

Women are constantly told that they can’t equate to men. They tell us, “women can’t draw crowds”—Matthew Knight Arena sold out. “People aren’t interested,”—the WNBA Draft had the most views in YEARS. “They can’t sell jerseys,”—in ONE HOUR Sabrina’s NY Liberty jersey sold out, not to mention Nike started selling her UO jersey and that sold out as well.

Sabrina changed the game—period. She made and will continue to make history. She received attention from some of sports’ most beloved icons—women AND men—because of her passion and the impact she was making at Oregon. She is a beast on the court, and she is so damn fun to watch. 

As a woman from the Bay Area, it’s even more inspiring to see another woman from the 925 shattering records, ceilings, and expectations (especially at such a young age). Sabrina’s out there not trying to be anyone but herself, and getting better in her craft every day. She’s helping to elevate the sport as a whole and to encourage allyship between the NBA and WNBA, for those who would otherwise not have looked. She’s a game changer and I’m LOVING sitting back and watching the game grow.

 

As you are creating relationships with these players , you learn to being able to say what they can't say. What does that mean exactly?


It means being an ear and listening. Truly hear what they’re saying without twisting it to fit a narrative. I’m so honored to work for a company that helps provide a platform for athletes and coaches to be able to share their stories. That isn’t to be taken lightly. 

Last year, I was producing a tease for the start of the Pac-12 women’s basketball season. I was excited to produce this piece because the Pac-12 had some of the best players in the country, and I wanted to imbue this edit with the importance it deserved.

I thought, “how can we make this piece different from the pieces we’ve produced before? How can we add some sass, say something different, use these players' names, and tell people they should be HYPED to tune into Pac-12 this season?” Thankfully, I had a kick-ass editor, Scotty. Our visions were totally aligned and we were able to create something that said, “well you better start paying attention.” 

And that’s just it: PAY ATTENTION, because all of these women are out here changing the game.


What do you look forward to most in creating content on female athletes?

I love hearing about their journeys. I love learning something new, meeting new people, and listening. It’s important to be a megaphone, if and when needed, to strive to amplify voices, and I will always help when I can. I’m still learning, still growing, and seeking new opportunities to do my part!

I once heard a friend say, “sports are a microcosm of life,” to which I agree. There will be ups and downs, joy and pain, but above all else, you get out what you put in, and I give my all.

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