||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2011)|
23 May 1965
|Education||Archbishop Holgate Grammar School, York|
Television sports commentator,
|Height||6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m)|
Jon Champion (born 23 May 1965 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire) is a sports commentator and currently ESPN UK's number one football commentator. Champion is a well-established and experienced commentator who has also worked for the BBC and ITV over the past 20 years. His late father David Champion was the deputy headmaster of the independent school Bootham School, York. Jon's commentaries can also be heard on the worldwide feed of many Premier League and League Cup matches around the globe.
Champion joined BBC Sport in the late 1980s and worked as a football commentator on BBC Radio Five Live between 1992 and 1996. He worked alongside Alan Green, Mike Ingham, Ron Jones, Rob Hawthorne and Jonathan Legard covering Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Football League matches for the network. During this time Champion commentated on the 1994 and 1996 Division One Play-Off Finals, and the 1996 UEFA Champions League Final between Juventus and Ajax. His fellow commentator on that evening was future ITV colleague Peter Drury.
In 1995 an opportunity arose to further Champion's career at the BBC. John Motson took a three-month break from his role as a commentator on Match of the Day, allowing Champion to be drafted in to cover. Champion spent the whole of the 1995-1996 season combining his Five Live duties with appearances as a commentator on Match of the Day. He was successful enough to move across to TV permanently the following season, after Clive Tyldesley left the BBC and rejoined ITV.
Champion spent five seasons between 1996 and 2001 as a full-time member of the BBC's commentary team, covering edited highlights of the Premier League and the FA Cup, in addition to occasional matches from the UEFA Cup. At the 1998 World Cup, Champion commentated on highlights of England's 2nd Round exit at the hands of Argentina.
In the summer of 2000 ITV surprised the BBC with a successful bid for Premier League highlights. This kicked in from 2001, and left the BBC without any regular week-by-week football. Champion therefore moved to join ITV in 2001, and was a regular part of ITV's commentary team for the Premier League, League Cup, Football League and the UEFA Champions League.
Champion's ITV colleague Guy Mowbray left for the BBC in 2004 following the loss of Premier League rights back to the BBC, however Champion remained with ITV. Although he continued as a commentator on highlights of the Football League and League Cup, Champion's 'live' match opportunities gradually diminished with Clive Tyldesley and Peter Drury taking the top matches. As a result Champion began to look for work elsewhere, commentating on the Premier League for the overseas feed, and covering some UEFA Cup matches for Channel Five.
Setanta and ESPN
In 2007, ambitious new-boys Setanta Sports UK signed up Champion as their number one FA Premier League commentator. Champion remained contracted to ITV, but was loaned out to Setanta. For two seasons he thus managed to combine his ITV duties with 'live' matches on Setanta. During the 2008-09 season, Champion was increasingly heard more on Setanta who had also secured rights to the FA Cup. In May 2009, Champion commentated on his first FA Cup Final.
Within a month, Setanta had gone into administration and were forced to relinquish their football rights. These were scooped up by the Disney-owned sports broadcaster ESPN, who rapidly established a brand new sports channel ESPN UK for the UK and Ireland and starting broadcasting Premier League football in August 2009. Champion was the natural choice as their number one commentator, and moved across from ITV permanently. However Champion was loaned back to ITV for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, working alongside his ESPN colleague Craig Burley. As well as being ESPN's lead Premier League commentator, Champion also commentates on the Europa League and the FA Cup. On 14 May 2011 he commentated alongside Chris Waddle on the FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Stoke City. In 2012 he was a commentator for ITV's coverage of Euro 2012 usually alongside Craig Burley. In January 2013, he commented that Luis Suarez's handball goal in the FA Cup against Mansfield Town was "the work of a cheat". ESPN issued an official statement regarding the objectivity of Champion's comments.
- FA Cup Finals: 2009 (Setanta), 2011, 2012 and 2013 (ESPN),
- League Cup Finals: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 (all ITV)
- Championship Play Off Final: 2005, 2009 (both ITV)
- "A full-blooded encounter for a number of reasons, many of them illegitimate."
- "They seem to be in total, if not complete control"
- "Victor Hernandez, like an orchestral conductor directing his troops..."
- "Two late goals, both in the last twenty minutes..."
- "There’s 30 minutes gone and we’re in the first quarter of the game."
- "Given away by Carvalho... here's Rooney, it's a horrible error by the Portuguese!!!"
As a commentator:
- Match Intro - Arsenal vs. Man Utd (January 2007) "Meetings between these clubs are never dull, they are often momentous. League championships have been won... tempers have been lost... pizzas have been thrown."
- Celtic vs. Milan (February 2007), after Alberto Gilardino performed a clear dive in the box: "And Gilardino's gone down almost posthumously!"
- In the 94th minute of Turkey vs. Czech Republic (June 2008) "If a spaceship landed in the centre circle, direct from Mars, I wouldn't be surprised now."
- Just after kick off in the England v Czech Republic international friendly (August 2008) "His predecessor was a legend, but he just looks like a plumber." About the Czech Republic manager.
- Manchester United v Middlesbrough (December 2008) "And here is Ronaldo...and he's fallen over."
- Newcastle's 3 - 0 loss to Liverpool (May 2009) and two matches shy of relegation, after a lingering look from behind the goal in which a knotted bit of netting can be seen. "Is that the hangman's rope in the picture there? . . . Newcastle, hovering over the trap door."
- Liverpool vs. Everton (January 2009), after a goal by Joleon Lescott "As a paid-up member of the centre-backs' union, he'll be forced to retire after scoring from there."
- Arsenal vs. Chelsea 0-3 (November 2009), after Didier Drogba's opening goal: "Same old story! Arsenal play the football; Chelsea have the goal!"
He has been commentator in the Pro Evolution Soccer series since PES 2008. He will again feature in PES 2012 onwards, this time not alongside Mark Lawrenson (who featured in the game for as long a period of time as Champion) but with newly installed co-commentator Jim Beglin.
Jon Champion is represented by Innovative Sport & Media Presenters. More in depth professional information can be found on Jon's profile page To contact his management team view their website or call: 0207 121 5003
World Cup 2010
- He has commentated on four FA Cup Finals and six League Cup Finals, as well as numerous games across the Premier League, Champions League and Football League. Gibson, Owen (31 July 2009). "Familiar faces drive ESPN's kick-off on UK screen". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "ESPN clarify commentator Jon Champion's remarks calling Luis Suarez a cheat". RTE Sport. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- "Why Luis Suárez's hand landed Jon Champion and ESPN in a muddle". Guardian UK. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- "ESPN reprimand commentator Jon Champion for describing Suarez handball as 'work of a cheat'". Daily Mail. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013.