About Mark

Voice Over / MC

I grew up in Marin County in a family that focused on educational pursuits and really had nothing to do with sports. In fact, my mom couldn’t even get me to play Little League baseball when I was a kid. I was far more interested in rock music and learning to play the drums.

My life changed shortly after getting a paper route for the Marin Journal in San Rafael when I was about 11-years-old, I somehow won a trip with a large group of my fellow paper boys to go to a Giants game at Candlestick Park.

I really didn’t care about baseball, but suddenly walking into that stadium on a Friday night in June of 1967 I was thunderstruck. It was like love at first sight…and smell. I loved the contrast of the green grass under the bright lights, the bright red uniforms of the St. Louis Cardinals whom the Giants played that night.

I also couldn’t get enough of the smells — popcorn, hot dogs, beer and yes — cigar smoke. I will never forget the invasion of the senses. The energy from the crowd when something happened produced a visceral reaction in my body.

I hadn’t been at the game very long before I leaned over to my best buddy and said, “Who is that guy out there?”

His eyes bugged out! He said, “That’s Willie Mays, you idiot!”

I could not take my eyes off him. The way he moved so smoothly, making everything look so easy. Even the way he threw the ball to warm up his arm between innings. I had never seen anyone throw a ball so far with seemingly so little effort. I was drawn to everything I experienced that night, but particularly Willie Mays. He became my hero and the biggest reason sports have become my life.

I stunned my mom the next day by asking her if she would get me signed up for Little League, and to buy me a glove, As soon as possible.

I remember she looked at me, as mothers do, as if I had suddenly taken ill.

I was starting at ground zero but with endless hours of practice, I became a pretty good…you guessed it, center fielder.

I wanted to become a Major League baseball player, but soon realized that was a long shot and figured the next best thing would be to become a baseball announcer or some kind of sports broadcaster. I was that kid who borrowed my dad’s tape recorder, turned down the volume of the games on television and did my own play by play.

Much to the chagrin of my parents, I seemed to read only books about sports. I would devour anything I could get my hands on as long as it had a connection to the world of sports.

I remember I hid a Sports Illustrated magazine inside my junior high school math book and the teacher caught me reading it during class. He ripped it up in front of all the other kids and totally humiliated me. Everyone laughed and I could feel my face turn a deep crimson. I have never forgotten that teacher. Mr. Callahan, I know you are out there! You scarred me for life.

Just kidding.

My journey took me through San Rafael High School, Petaluma Senior High school, Santa Rosa Junior college and I finally earned my Journalism degree from the University of Idaho in 1978.

I nailed down my first real job at KXTV in Sacramento and after a little over a year I received a call from the News director at KTVU Channel 2. He had been on vacation in Lake Tahoe and had seen me on the Sacramento station while he was up there. On his way back to the Bay Area, we met for lunch and within a week he offered me the weekend sports anchor job at KTVU.

That was in 1979, and here it is more than 35 years later and I am still working at a job I love and covering all the teams I grew up following. In fact I would go so far as to say. All the teams I grew up living and dying with. I take my sports seriously but I also don’t freak out and throw tantrum when my team loses. At least not anymore.

I would never want to work at any other station or in any other city. I have been able to cover numerous Super Bowls, World Series and visit most every sports venue in the country. I saw Dwight Clark make “The Catch” for the 49ers. I was maybe twenty feet away from him when it happened.

I was in the press box when the Stanford Band ran on to the field in the Big Game. I have been at all the 49ers Super Bowl victories, and Giants World Series conquests. And of course the famous Earthquake Series when the A”s swept the Giants. Most recently I covered the Warriors through their NBA Championship run.

People always ask me who my favorite teams are… “Who do you like better the A’s or the Giants?” The 49ers or the Raiders etc. I always answer truthfully. If they come from the Bay Area, I am pulling for them. I am not a hater, and never will be. I am all about Northern California. My four kids were all born here. And two of my three wives are from here (haha!). And I hope I am never forced to leave.

I still love covering sports because I firmly believe nothing unifies people and communities like athletics. If you have ever been at a game when something amazing happens…you know what I mean! I still pause in wonder on a regular basis when I think that I am actually paid to report about these games.

I will never take that for granted. And I will never tire of talking sports with all the Bay Area fans that I meet on a daily basis.

That’s what I mean when I close my broadcast every night by saying; “That’s the sporting life!” 

Mark with legend Willie Mays

Mark's Career Highlights

Mark's Vocal Characteristics

Member

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.