big break profile:
Hometown: Danbury, CT
David Sahadi didn’t start out thinking he’d ever work for the WWE. As matter of fact, David graduated college with a degree in mathematics, and had no idea what he wanted to do in the future. Lucky for David, his father was an accomplished sports writer who had written over 25 books, and he had some connections at NBC.
At the age of 21, NBC Sports hired David to work on NFL Live as a “logger.” David was responsible for writing down every play and what time it occurred on the tape. David was concerned that if it was a boring game, there would not be much content to write about. But the fact that the show was live thrilled David. That is what eventually hooked him into live television production.
David was promoted to highlight supervisor after only his second year in the NFL. He was then in charge of producing the highlights packages and corresponding scripts and paperwork from the loggers. These packages would go directly to Bob Costas, who would then do a live play-by-play live on air.
One day, things were a bit hectic and David accidentally sent up the wrong tape to Bob Costas. Costas was supposed to be doing a live voiceover of a touchdown that was only supposed to last a few seconds long. However, he instead received a tape of Neil Lomax getting sacked nine different times in one game. The tape ran about 52 seconds. This seemed like an eternity to David, but fortunately for him, Bob pulled him aside and straightened everything out. David learned a great lesson from this experience. In 1985, David became an intern in the sports department of NBC. He interned for six months, and then was made a full-time production assistant that summer. David continued to do so well that he was then hired as Manager of On-Air Promotions for NBC sports.
In 1988 NBC got the rights to the NBA. David was then assigned the task of doing the promotions for the launch of the NBA on NBC. Unfortunately, David did not agree with NBC’s head honcho Dick Ebersol's way of doing things. “Dick was very conservative and he hated the first commercial that I did,” says David. “It was very aggressive and contemporary, targeting a younger [demographic]. Dick wanted to use the song from the movie Annie—you know, ‘the sun will come out tomorrow.’ Dick wanted slow-mos and still shots. My view was in your face, cutting edge. He was very old-school, while I wanted it to be more new school. NBC and the major networks are very conservative; they play it safe, and use formulas that are outdated.”
In 1992 David was in charge of the launch campaign for the Olympics in Barcelona. David was not enjoying his time at NBC; he felt like he was being taken advantage of because of his age. At 26, he was the youngest head of on-air sports promotions.
The WWE made David an offer while he was at NBC. David went in for an interview, not thinking he would be working for the company. He had all the stereotypical preconceptions of pro wrestling. But when he arrived at WWE headquarters, he was greatly impressed with everything. He told NBC he was made an offer and that he didn’t really want to leave, but he would. NBC told him to stick it out for 6 months until the Olympics were over, and they would offer him some incentives. NBC did not follow through with what they promised, and thus began David’s journey to the WWE. When David first started, he was petrified, but one month in, he knew he was at the right place.
Today, as Creative Director of On-Air Promotions, David Sahadi loves his job and continues to innovate in the world of sports entertainment.
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