David Bolton, a Santa Barbara High alum, and his company, Cultural Global Media, to produce Super Bowl for Fox Sports Latin America
Growing up in Santa Barbara, David Bolton couldn’t get enough sports in his life, no matter how hard he tried.
“I’ve always loved sports,” he said. “It’s been a huge part of my life.”
Whether it was listening to Vin Scully call a Dodger home run on the radio, or the late Chick Hearn uttering one of his many legendary catch phrases during a Laker game on television, Mr. Bolton was hooked.
He turned his passion into a career, and this Sunday, a passionately active Santa Barbara High alum will be in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII.
No, not as a fan — Mr. Bolton will have an all-access media credential hanging from his neck, representing his Santa Barbara-based company, Cultural Global Media.
Mr. Bolton’s company will produce a world-wide television broadcast of football’s biggest game for Fox Sports Latin America. While CBS will cover the national broadcast, Mr. Bolton’s team of more than 50 people from the U.S. and Mexico will provide the rest of the Spanish-speaking globe, as well as parts of Europe, with everything the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots do on the field.
“I’m extremely honored and proud to represent Santa Barbara at one of the largest, if not the largest sporting event, in the world,” Mr. Bolton said. “I so much respect and enjoy the people in the city of Santa Barbara, and to represent them on this world stage is truly one of the biggest honors a sports producer could ever ask for.”
Mr. Bolton didn’t ask for the biggest assignment of his career, he earned it during his three decades in the television sports industry.
Sunday’s Super Bowl for Mr. Bolton comes 30 years after he began Cultural Global Media from a tiny space in his Santa Barbara home. Since 1989, CGM has produced Major League Soccer games and shows for Fox Sports, Major League Lacrosse for CBS and ESPN, and a number of other international sporting events, including some of the world’s most high-profile soccer matches.
Mr. Bolton added the NFL to his resume four years ago. His company has produced several games since then for Fox Sports Latin America, with the most recent being the NFC Championship game between the Rams and New Orleans Saints on Jan. 19.
“I was very happy to be there,” Mr. Bolton said. “The game was probably our highest profile game to date, and we were very pleased with the production. Fox Sports Latin America was very pleased with the production, and it really gave us quite a sendoff for the showcase game on Super Bowl Sunday.”
The NFL was also pleased with Mr. Bolton’s latest gridiron success. So much so that they circumvented the Fox network and went straight to the production boss.
“The Super Bowl game, although it’s for Fox Sports Latin America, we were contracted directly by the NFL, which is the first time we’ve been contracted directly from the league,” Mr. Bolton said. “All the other NFL games we’ve done for Fox Sports Latin America, we were contracted directly by Fox. This time it was the NFL.”
NFL games are a massive undertaking for Mr. Bolton. They are bigger than anything he has produced during his previous 26 years in live sports production.
Sunday’s Super Bowl will be the biggest of the big, and Bolton, who’s been inAtlanta all week preparing for it, says they’ll be ready to go.
“On our end, we have 20 people from the United States and 31 have come fromMexico, and that includes 13 broadcasters,” Mr. Bolton said of his team. “It’s a very large crew, and everybody is working very well together leading up to the big game on Sunday.
“It’s just really a good team we have. I pretty much have a core group that goes back to my time doing soccer on the Fox Soccer Channel, and we all work very well together.”
Along with putting together an enormous broadcast production like Sunday’s undertaking, Mr. Bolton also has to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover all the costs. It’s the way his company has done business from the very beginning.
“For 30 years, that’s how I’ve always done my sports. I put up the money and then I’m paid, sometimes 60 days later,” Mr. Bolton said. “I’m very selective on who I do those arrangements for. If it’s a reputable network, 100 percent. We fund everything, then we get reimbursed after the event from the network, or in this case the NFL.”
It’s a television sports career that began in 1985 at KEYT, where Mr. Bolton created the Emmy Award winning Friday Football Focus — a weekly show that showcases the high school games from Ventura County to San Luis Obispo County.
He has a full-time job these days as the executive director for the California Missions Foundation, which Mr. Bolton says, “he loves.” But when it comes to Sunday, when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady goes for a sixth Super Bowl ring against a Rams team that is fortunate to even be on the big stage after what transpired in New Orleans, Mr. Bolton will bring a piece of Santa Barbara to the rest of the world as he broadcast arguably sports’ biggest game.