KTVU Sports Director Mark Ibanez began at KTVU in 1979, when the now Fox-owned station was an independent broadcast entity. Back then, it was the television home of the San Francisco Giants. It’s where legendary anchor Dennis Richmond delivered the news. The station was known for popular television series including “Captain Cosmic,” “Creature Features,” and the beloved children’s show “Romper Room” with Miss Nancy.
When KTVU Sports Director Mark Ibanez signed off for the final time in April of 2022, it marked the end of a storied and illustrious career, a career that spanned almost 43 years at one place, from where he informed, entertained, and connected with two generations of Bay Area viewers. Mark was the longest tenured Bay Area sportscaster in history, and for many who had for years turned to him for their sporting news, his departure from their nightly newscast signaled the end of an era.
For Ibanez, who grew up in the Bay Area watching Channel 2, he had landed his dream job at the station of his childhood and was covering the sports teams he had followed his whole life. For the next four decades, Ibanez would report on the biggest wins, the most heartbreaking losses, and everything in between. He provided KTVU viewers access to Hall of Famers and told of their record-setting performances.
He’s covered nine Super Bowls and eight World Series. In 1982, he was on the sidelines at Candlestick Park for “The Catch,” standing some 20 feet away when Dwight Clark caught the game-winning touchdown from Joe Montana in the NFC Championship Game, a moment which set in motion a 49ers dynasty.
Also in 1982, he was in the press box when the Stanford Band ran onto the field during the Big Game at Cal’s Memorial Stadium in what would later be known as “The Play.” In October 1989, he was there for the Earthquake Series when the Bay Area came to a devastating halt. The A’s would later sweep the Giants in four games to capture their fourth World Series title in Oakland. And more recently, he covered the Warriors championship runs in 2015, 2017, and 2018. A playback of his career would show like an incredible highlight reel of the most iconic moments in Bay Area sports history. Mark also has a long and impressive list of legendary sports figures whom he’s interviewed: Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Stephen Curry to name a few.
For his former colleagues in the newsroom, the part about him being a people person resonated as a solid reason for his historic run as a Bay Area sports personality. His down-to-earth demeanor created an easy avenue to connect for the subjects he’s covered, as well as his viewers at home. The person the television audience saw on the other side of the camera was always the person who showed up for work that day. And for many of his former colleagues, it’s often not until walking out of the newsroom with him that they’re reminded of his celebrity status in the Bay Area.
His affable, upbeat disposition has long translated through the television screen, offering his audience the feeling that they knew him as a friend. To his viewers, Mark will be remembered for his depth of knowledge in sports and his consistent, dependent delivery. Some very long-time viewers may conjure up images of him with his trademark 80’s-style mustache when they think of him on the anchor desk.
Many others will be reminded of his sharp sense of fashion, as he’s been arguably one of the best dressed television personalities in the Bay Area.