ESPN hired Karsten as a production assistant in 1983 and he began reporting in 1991. He was mainly known for being a college football sideline reporter. Karsten was known in the cycling community for his 'side-line' style reporting while anchoring during ESPN's broadcasts of the Tour de France. Karsten hosted the Tour De France from 1994 through 2000 - more than any other American Tour De France host.
Firing and Death
ESPN fired him in 2003 for Alcohol dependence. In July 2005, Karsten pleaded guilty to not reporting $607,000 that he made between 1999 and 2002 for his work at ESPN. Karsten was sentenced to eleven months in prison and nine months of confinement at his home. He never showed up at a Federal prison in Rochester, Minnesota. He had committed suicide by hanging himself in his garage in Green Lake, Wisconsin just before he was scheduled to report to prison for tax evasion.
- Bailey, Jonathan (October 10, 2012). "Just like Dad: Father's suicide derailed Karsten's dreams for years, but now he's ready to join the family business". Ripon Press. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Magazine of Sigma Chi. Sigma Chi. 1992. p. 26.
- "Ex-ESPN reporter found dead". U-T San Diego. September 7, 2005. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Li, David K. (September 5, 2005). "ESPN Reporter Suicide". New York Post. Archived from the original on September 23, 2005. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- The American Mind - August, 2005