Troy Aikman isn’t the only Bruin who has helped Fox Sports become one of the leaders in sports entertainment. Behind the scenes, another UCLA graduate works tirelessly on the sports fans know and love. Claudia Martinez hails from the San Fernando Valley in California where she was raised in a household with a father who loves sports and passed on this emotion on to his daughters. Over the innumerable “NFL Sundays,” she saw how sports united her family and community. Over time, she herself acquired a taste for the thrill of the unexpected element in games as she saw underdog teams progress in tournaments like NCAA March Madness. Growing up, alongside the sacred status that sports held, her family instilled the importance of academics and working hard from an early age.
Claudia’s academic excellence and hard-work paid off when she was accepted to UCLA in 1997. She chose to pursue her education in Westwood so that she could remain close to home while looking to grow among the rich diversity of UCLA’s student body. Immediately, she encountered the all-too-familiar overwhelming reality which dawns upon every ambitious Bruin, of having to carve out a unique college path. As a young freshman who found herself with a never-ending list of exciting courses and a sea of clubs, extracurricular activities, and internship opportunities to traverse, Claudia nostalgically recalls the time – “I wanted to do it all!” Ultimately, she chose to pursue an Economics major as it aligned closely with her interest in finance and her dreams of being a Chief Financial Officer one day.
However, her journey was not as simple. At UCLA, she initially struggled to develop a strong rapport with her professors given large class sizes. Nevertheless, her grit and practicality meant finding solutions – she made it a point to attend office hours to introduce herself to professors and formed study groups to meet other students that shared common interests. Wiser over time, Claudia explains, “it’s what you make of it and how you deal with your experiences.” She carried this fighting spirit with her after graduation as well. Initially, she spent a summer in Europe, and upon returning to the states it was a particularly challenging time to find work due to the 2001 economic recession, she took up an accounting job at the Bruin-card office at the Ackerman Center during which she even received a promotion for her hard work.
Simultaneously, Claudia tapped into the UCLA Alumni network to discuss opportunities with and learn from the experiences of other Bruins who transitioned into the finance and entertainment industries. She moved on to other roles in her career at movie studios and a PR firm before joining FOX Sports as a Manager of Communications and Media Relations for the Spanish language network, FOX Deportes. At FOX Sports, her ambition, grit and hard work led her to being promoted several times and currently serving as a VP of Communications where she is pursuing a role that lies at the intersection of her professional skills and childhood passion. In her current role, Claudia manages the publicity and media relations campaigns for the network’s premier properties – the National Football League and FIFA World Cups. In her seven years at FOX Sports, she has many cherished memories overseas while managing some of the largest events for the company, spending 42 days on-site in Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup and leading PR efforts in France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. At home, the strategic PR campaign that Claudia and team executed for Super Bowl LIV generated the most press coverage ever for the event for the network.
Claudia reflects fondly on her time at UCLA, recollecting her love for attending athletic events and tailgating at games where she could watch the Bruins’ world-class sports teams compete for conference and national titles, though she might still be curiously waiting for some football success.
Claudia’s work enables her to be authentic and carry over her childhood passion for sports day-in-day-out at FOX Sports and, in doing so, she is an inspiration to us young Bruins who may find ourselves running helter-skelter in pursuit of a tangible career path. Claudia reminds us that she too has been in our shoes and advises that young Bruins not to overwhelm ourselves with having a “perfect plan,” but instead to be flexible, live with intention and enjoy the journey while maximizing everything that life throws our way.
Written by Pakzad Daruwala
Author’s note: The interview with Claudia was conducted in the week our Bruins were to take on Alabama Crimson Tide. An intense discussion occurred on the odds our Bruins winning. Claudia’s “heart” undisputedly backed the Bruins whereas “reason” told her otherwise. We all know how that game turned out – once again proof to always follow the heart!