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The Tritonian

Sportscaster Joey Bonadonna Started with Blizzard, Brought Livestream to NDA, Continues Passion at UW-Madison


Sports commentator and Premontre graduate Kevin Harlan has been the inspiration and role model for 2022 NDA graduate Joey Bonadonna throughout his early years in the sports industry. 

Bonadonna was born in Minnesota but grew up in Green Bay. As a kid, he played multiple sports but moved on from them after suffering two concussions in three weeks during freshman year football. 

With his playing days done, Bonadonna still found a way to stay involved with Triton sports. For the rest of his high school career, he managed both the boys’ basketball and football teams as well as producing their social media pages. He also wrote for the NDA Tritonian. 

In addition to those activities, starting freshman year, Bonadonna worked as the color commentator for Green Bay’s indoor football team, the Blizzard, and he has continued that to the present.. 

Bonadonna loved what he did with the Blizzard and saw what some other schools were doing with their live broadcasts of their sports. 

“I wanted to bring that here, and I knew we were capable of it,” he said. 

His broadcast idea was originally denied. However, when Kevin Harlan was a student at Premontre, he ran a radio station where he would broadcast sports. Bonadonna piggy-backed off that, and in his sophomore year he started a podcast where the first interviewee on the show was none other than Kevin Harlan.

Bonadonna’s junior year was at the heart of COVID-19. Fans were not allowed in the stands, and lots of changes came to the sports season. Athletic Director Matt Koenig approached him about broadcasting the home games for the fans to watch from their couches.

Already having all of the equipment, Bonadonna was ready to jump in. 

“It’s tough because there is a lot you have to just learn by yourself,” he said. “It’s a lot of playing around and figuring things out.”

Bonadonna explained how he had a lot of fun broadcasting those games. After COVID, when fans were allowed back into the gym, he continued to do commentary and broadcast games. 

“It was different. It wasn’t just me talking into a mic in an empty gym. I could feel the energy. It was awesome, and such a great experience,” he shared. 

By the end of his senior year at Notre Dame, Bonadonna was the head play-by-play announcer for the Blizzard and had won two awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Currently a sophomore majoring in journalism with a minor in sports communications at UW-Madison, Bonadonna shared that Madison felt comfortable, and he knew that that was where he was supposed to be. 

Bonadonna is involved with the radio station on campus, where he does a live sports show every week, and the radio station broadcasts every on-campus sporting event. 

Last semester, Bonadonna began working with Big Ten Plus, broadcasting not only Wisconsin sports but other colleges as well. This year, he has worked on the broadcast of 50 different games, including the Wisconsin vs Minnesota football game and the Northern Iowa vs Miami NCAA volleyball tournament game. 

While still doing work at college, Bonadonna currently works with the Packers as a press box assistant. This means he assists the media and announcers throughout the game. 

“I like it because I get to see how they go about their day broadcasting,” he said.

Bonadonna is very thankful for the place where he grew up and the people around him.

“My mom is a huge inspiration for me with what she’s done and the opportunities she has given me. She taught me sports. With school online during Covid, we used to travel and see games. I did a lot of my classes in a hotel room. I’m grateful for all of the opportunities this community has given me,” said the alum. 

Bonadonna looks up to broadcasters like Kevin Harlan and Gus Johnson, and he hopes to be in their position one day. His long-term goal is to be a play-by-play announcer for big games like the Super Bowl and the NCAA tournament.

Bonadonna shared how he would turn the sound off on the television and practice sportscasting. That kind of passion plus his early opportunities helped him a lot. 

“Learn now because you will have an advantage later,” he said. “Take as many opportunities as you can. That’s how you grow. Any opportunity you can take, jump on it. Reach out and network with people. You might meet someone you can work and collaborate with that could help you down the road,” he told the Journalism I class.


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