A Look at How Cari Champion Joined ESPN, Other Places She Worked and Her Salary Details

ESPN may no longer be the undisputed Sports leader that it was once but it is still one of the most reputable sports networks in the world. This is thanks to its roster of remarkable talents including the likes of Cari Champion, a sportscaster who worked for the Tennis Channel and has been plying her trade with ESPN since 2012.

For those who might not be familiar with her work, Cari has been an anchor on ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter, and also hosted the network’s other popular shows like SportsNation. She has blazed a trail for women broadcasters in the male-dominated world of sports journalism. She has also contributed her part in giving voice to African-American stories and her success has been profiled by several magazines including Vogue.

Cutting Her Teeth at Her College Newspaper

Cari Champion’s life began on the 1st of June, 1978 when she was born in Pasadena, California. Much of her family’s background is unknown but she was equally raised in the Golden State where she had her higher education at the University of California, majoring in English and minoring in Mass Communications.

Whilst growing up, Cari had noticed the fact that the media often portrayed her people in a bad light. She, therefore, developed a desire to join in combating such narrative and as such, during her college days, she started writing for the on-campus newspaper known as The Daily Bruin. From there, she was able to score a coveted internship with CNN and subsequently obtained her degree in 1998.

Upon graduation, Cari scored her first TV role as a professional in West Virginia. She spent several months working as a reporter for a local news channel before she secured a job at Orange County Newschannel, a local station in Santa Ana. Cari equally spent a few months in this particular role before she got another chance to further her experience at WPTV-TV in Florida.

Cari Champion
Cari Champion and Victoria Azarenka

Weaving Her Way Through Local Channels in Atlanta and Florida

Cari worked in Florida from 2002 to 2007 before she moved to Atlanta to join WGCL-TV. At WGCL-TV, she served as a reporter and an anchor and enjoyed remarkable success in her career. She, however, had to quit her job after some workplace controversy. It must be noted that throughout this period, Cari Champion had focused on hard journalism, such as politics and business, without paying much attention to sports. All that however changed when she left WGCL-TV to head back to Florida.

In Florida, the young lady joined a local channel and continued reporting on her regular beat including human interest stories and devastating natural disasters. She was however also assigned to cover Florida-based tennis greats, Serena and Venus Williams, and she became enamored by the impact that the sisters had made. She, fell in love with the game of tennis and subsequently auditioned to join the Tennis Channel.

Cari beat out scores of other individuals to land the job and subsequently spent several fruitful months at the channel during which she served as a roving reporter and court report anchor. Her work gained her the respect of audiences as well as that of players. It also caught the attention of sports leader, ESPN, and they made her an offer that she couldn’t resist.

Her Time as The Golden Girl of ESPN

Although Cari Champion has had an extensive career across an array of local TV stations, it is her time in ESPN that has brought her national attention and it all began in October 2012 when she joined the network as the host of First Take. She moderated the lively debates between renowned sports commentators, Stephen A. Smith, and Skip Bayless, and helped elevate the show to one of the network’s biggest audience draws. Such display of excellence predictably led to a worthy promotion to ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter, and since then Cari has gone on to host other shows such as SportsNation.

Cari Champion
Cari Champion on the set of First Take with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith

In the course of her career, Cari Champion has conducted herself quite well and has avoided any blemishes or scandals. She has however been dragged into some controversies through no fault of hers. For instance, back in 2014, comic, Artie Lange, made several sexually-charged and slavery-tinted jokes about Champion. This caused a small uproar and many of Cari’s peers called out Lange for making such reprehensible jokes.

The twitter-verse also joined with the hashtag, ISupportCari, and called for Lange to be banned. Cari, on her part, decided not to dignify the jokes with any comment and kept mute. Lange later addressed the issue but maintained that there was nothing offensive about the jokes. He stated that it was the PC group that was blowing it all out of proportion and that the only person he owed apologies was Cari assuming that she found the jokes offensive.

Her Career Earnings and Salaries

When Cari Champion joined ESPN in her first role on First Take, the show received a huge surge in viewership, otherwise known as ratings, and she has since been rewarded with taking the reins of one of the network’s top shows, SportsCenter.

This new exalted position has also been reflected in her financial status, putting her in the bracket of high earning journalists with an estimated $1 million annual salary. Combined with her previous income and her status at the top of the network’s salary pyramid, she has been able to amass a net worth in the region of $3 million.

Too Busy for Love? 

Since she became a popular and renowned sportscaster, many fans have been curious about Cari Champion’s love life but so far, the ESPN journalist hasn’t done much in the way of answering those questions. She has neither come out to deny or confirm she is in a relationship although she has been known to post a couple of inspirational relationship quotes on her Instagram page that might suggest she is in a relationship. Despite the uncertainty surrounding her love life, one thing that is for sure is that the gorgeous and intelligent Cari Champion won’t be short of admirers. If therefore, she is single, then it is a matter of choice rather than due to a lack of options.

Adeola Seun
Seun is a CCNA certified graduate of FUTA. He has been writing on various subjects that include finance, economics, celebrity net worth, lifestyle, biographies and politics for over 7 years, Other than writing, he enjoys movies, video games, and sports


Featured Today

Related Stories