||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2011)|
23 May 1965
|Education||Archbishop Holgate Grammar School, York|
Television sports commentator,
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
Jon Champion (born 23 May 1965 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire) is a sports 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.
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. Champion then was loaned back to ESPN for the 2014 FIFA World Cup alongside former footballer Stewart Robson. Champion now part-time commentates for U.S. soccer men's friendlies alongside Kasey Keller when #1 commentator Ian Darke is not available.
- 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)
- FIFA World Cup: 2006 (ITV), 2010 (ITV), 2014 (ESPN)
- USMNT Friendlies: 2014–present (ESPN)
- 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.