15 women sportscasters you should know about

When the average American citizen finishes a long day of work, they might give their kids a big hug. Or they might cook themselves a steaming dinner while they talk about the hardships of the day. After dinner, many of them turn on their television sets to watch a sitcom, drama, or more often than not – a sports channel.

From big games to fast-paced highlights colorfully narrated on Sportscenter, when one watches anything to do with sports, the experience is never complete without a commentator or reporter on the scene. It’s hard to imagine watching any big sports game on television without our reporters colorfully describing it to us in such a professional, story-like fashion. These storytellers can be sideline reporters, color commentators, as well as analysts on ESPN.

When sports broadcasting emerged in the 1940s, it was mainly the men who got all the gigs. It wasn’t until the ‘70s that women reporters began to garner respect from the American population, with the breadth of their credibility making its mark. Ever since then, women have become staples in the sports reporting world, and their presence has become an important step toward much needed diversity in the world of sports.

In the 21st century, the world of women sports reporting has flourished strongly, and there are countless notable names who have helped this process along. From the pioneers who helped pave the way early on, to the rising stars of the present day, we are happy to say that when folks in the U.S. turn on their television to watch their favorite sports program, they are going to be getting quality reporting.

As time changes, the styles and sensibilities of sports reporting changes as well. The beauty of this is that as new generations emerge, there is a constant need for freshness, and new ideas. In the world of sports today, there have been many stories that have gathered attention, and the female sports journalists have played a large hand in it.

From the grand stages of the sports world such as the Super Bowl and the World Series, to the laid back atmosphere you might find at an NBA insider discussion, the women are a big part of the way we watch sports today. They have influenced the sports culture in a very positive way, and it’s hard to imagine a broadcast of any sports program without them.

Here are 15 notable women you should know about that are active in the sports reporting scene currently.

Rachel Nichols – on air

This ESPN anchor is a household name for most sports fanatics across the United States. Emerging from Medill School of Journalism in 1995 with a strong ambition to be heard, she had all the tools she needed to navigate her way across the airwaves, from frequent March Madness appearances to appearing on regular football broadcasts. Specializing in the NBA and NFL, she is often seen on the sidelines. If that’s not enough, she was also dubbed by Sports Illustrated as “the country’s most impactful and prominent female sports journalist.”

Rachel Nichols – off air

In addition to her work as a sideline reporter, Rachel is also part of a loving family. She is married to husband Max Nichols, son of The Graduate director Mike Nichols, and has known him since high school. They met at summer camp, and although they lost touch in their teenage years, their connection was strong enough to bring them back to each other and start a beautiful family. Speaking of, they have two lovely twin daughters. Congrats, Rachel!

Jenn Brown – on air

The winner of 2 Emmy awards, Jenn Brown is one of the biggest names in American sports journalism. An athlete herself, she plays multiple sports, and attended Florida University where she played Division I softball for 4 years. With this strong background in sports, she was a natural when it came to tackling major sports stories, reporting for NFL network and becoming an ESPN host for 8 years. She also served as reporter on various events such as the X Games, the NFL Draft, and the Little League World Series.

Jenn Brown – off air

Jenn is a TV persona known to a large portion of the American sports watching community. But guess what – she is also a mom! Married to Wes Chatham, an actor in the Hunger Games franchise, she had her first child, Nash in 2014. Her second son Rhett was born in 2016, rounding out the family number to an even 4. Brown has told People magazine that they feel complete, but are remaining open to potentially having more kids in the future.

Charissa Thompson – on air

This Fox Sports 1 and NBC reporter has made quite an impression throughout her illustrious career. Born in Seattle, she always knew she wanted to be a sports anchor. She served as one of the hosts on Sportsnation, and worked at ESPN and the Big Ten Network. Thompson also worked her way onto programs such as the NBA and MLB All Star Game. More recently, she was hired to be the host of the Netflix physical endurance competition show, Ultimate Beastmaster.

Charissa Thompson – off air

Despite being a natural at sports news, Charissa actually earned her B.A. in Law and Society, which is not the norm for most television personas, who usually major in journalism or similar fields. However, it turned out that her background in law comes in handy for her when working on stories that involve player or coaching scandals. Her diverse background has made her a huge asset to sports agencies, and she is very sought after.

Michelle Beadle – on air

Michelle Beadle is an ESPN reporter and one of the hosts on ESPN2 and Sportsnation. She also worked for the YES network, among various other gigs, before she became more popular. When she first applied to work at ESPN, they asked her opinion on what might improve the show. Not taking it too seriously, she wrote a “sarcastic list of 10 stupid things.” Much to her surprise, it wowed them, and managed to land her the job.

Michelle Beadle – off air

Beadle is a Texas girl at heart, and when she wants to take a break from her day job as a journalist, she likes to go back there and chill. A proud fan of the San Antonio Spurs, she loves spending time with family and friends while they watch games. The last thing missing from that equation is her Texas food – on one of her visits back home, she enjoyed a sit down at the Alamo Cafe, where she enjoyed her favorite Mexican dish – tortillas.

Kristine Leahy – on air

Leahy, who earned a degree in Journalism from Boston University, is very well-known as a host on the show American Ninja Warrior, and is also very popular on other sports programs. She also worked as a host for ESPN Radio, and was a strong addition to the show. She is currently a co-host with Colin Cowherd on The Herd on Fox Sports 1, where she was recently involved in an on-air dispute with Lavar Ball. Upon watching it, one can see that the girl has some grit.

Kristine Leahy – off air

When she isn’t on the hunt for a good sports story, Leahy finds the time to get into the dating world. In fact, one of the people she may have dated is none other than her co-host Cowherd, who she was rumored to have allegedly dated. She is now said to be in a relationship with her personal trainer Aaron Hines. Numerous photos of them together can be found on Instagram, and the two seem pretty happy together.

Alex Curry – on air

Curry, most notably known for her work on Team Ninja Warrior, is a relentless ball of energy. She played soccer for San Diego State University and helped them win a championship in 2006. Audiences around the world love her enthusiasm for sports and her ability to connect with whoever she is talking to. Covering practically every sport across the board, she is very well rounded, but she likes focusing on sports with a bit of punch.

Alex Curry – off air

Alex isn’t just an awesome presence in the world of sportscasting – she also happens to be a health nut. She is very conscious when it come to her eating and workout habits, along with her sleeping schedule. Alex is also completely gluten-free, which is a characteristic that her entire family shares. With a strong thirst for adventure, Alex has a wide array of eclectic hobbies, such as hiking and yoga.

Britt McHenry – on air

This 31-year-old from Satellite Beach, Florida attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, before starting her career as a reporter at NewsChannel 8. She also worked as a journalist for the baseball team, the San Diego Padres. Growing popular amongst the masses, she eventually moved on to appear on Baseball Tonight and Outside The Lines. After working a number of years for ESPN, she moved to Fox News Channel, where she currently works.

Britt McHenry – off air

McHenry isn’t afraid to voice her opinions on matters that she believes in. Beyond the TV screen and through social media, she has gained a substantial following, sharing her conservative views on subjects outside the sports world. “What’s attractive to me right now is more than just sports,” says Britt. “And there aren’t a lot of women who are not afraid to express their opinion… I feel like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders, that I can say what I believe.”

Josina Anderson – on air

Before emerging as a well recognized sports reporter, Anderson had a very strong, personal athletic career. A gold medal winner in the track and field department and a former ballet dancer, she began to make her mark in the news world when she started working as a CBS reporter. In 2011, ESPN hired Anderson, making her the first woman to work as an NFL insider. She has also worked on Sunday NFL Countdown and the show NFL Insider.

Josina Anderson – off air

One of the things we love most about Josina Anderson is her sense of humor. After losing a bet in 2016 that Mark Sanchez would start for the Broncos, Josina shaved her head bald. Or at least, it looked like she did: after looking a few more times at her shiny hairless head, it became clear that she was pulling a fast one, wearing a bald cap over her hair. Everyone needs a laugh from time to time, and it’s gratifying to know Anderson isn’t above such sensibilities.

Lindsay Czarniak – on air

Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Lindsay Czarniak spent six years with an NBC station before finally getting hired as an anchor for Sportscenter. She also covered programs such as The George Michael Sports Machine, and the NASCAR Series. Czarniak also covered the 2006 Winter Olympics, where she began to really make a name for herself. While her work spreads across many fields of sports, she is probably best known for her work as a NASCAR pit reporter.

Lindsay Czarniak – off air

Beyond the professional comings and goings of Czarniak’s life, she is happy to make time for her family. One of the more exciting occurrences in her family life was in late 2016, when she and her husband Craig Melvin welcomed a new baby girl into the world. She chose to name her Sybil Ann, nicknamed “Sibby,” adding another child to the family; her and Craig’s first child, two-year-old Del, was himself excited to become a big brother. Congratulations!

Kristen Ledlow – on air

Kristen Ledlow played many sports in high school, such as track, volleyball, and basketball. The winner of a Miss Capital USA crown, she has also attended Southeastern University. She is probably best known as the host of NBA Inside Stuff, a program that documents certain NBA players throughout their day-to-day lives. Kristen is presently the only woman to have been a host on the NBA TV channel. She has previously also worked for CNN as a sports anchor.

Kristen Ledlow – off air

Kristen’s appearances vary from action packed, sideline reporting, to segments with a bit of a lighter tone. Among these mellow segments was a sit down she had with none other than Kobe Bryant. During the event, which was labeled Teamed Up, Ledlow and Bryant sat down for at least an hour to discuss his NBA retirement. Bryant discussed his entire Lakers career with Ledlow, and talked about his future plans now that he no longer plays in the NBA.

Cari Champion – on air

A die hard Lakers fan, Cari Champion loved basketball growing up. Her passion for the sport would ultimately make her a stellar reporter in the American sports world. Making waves with her vast basketball knowledge, ESPN eventually hired her in 2012 to be a of First Take, ESPN2’s live debate show. If landing the job wasn’t enough, Stephen A. Smith – a very well-regarded sports broadcaster and a show favorite – said that Champion had one of the “the biggest, strongest personalities in the building.” Coming from Smith, that’s some pretty great feedback!

Cari Champion – off air

Champion has always been an activist in addition to her work as a journalist, focusing in particular on changing negative stereotypes leveled against African Americans. Her hope is to combine her two passions of activism and sportscasting. When discussing how she got into journalism, Champion said, “I wanted to give people a voice that didn’t have a voice. I’m always fighting for the underdog. I don’t know where I got it from, but I’ve been like that all my life. That’s why I love journalism.”

Missy Deyo – on air

Missy is not only a professional sports journalist, but she has a story that is truly inspirational. In 2012, she had to have her kidney removed due to a broken ureter. Against all odds, she has managed to remain a prominent figure in the sports world. She is a constant social media presence as well, working closely with the Kingston Frontenacs, a Canadian hockey team. An optimist at heart, her work with the Frontenacs has helped revitalize hockey culture in Kingston, and she is a source of inspiration to many.

Missy Deyo – off air

In addition to her battle against multiple surgeries, her life wasn’t without struggle. But she wants to share her story. Not only is she talented as a newscaster and as an on screen sports persona, she is writing a memoir called Against All Odds. In her online fundraising campaign aimed to raise money for the project, she writes, “I managed to change from being a world-hating, broken-hearted pessimist runaway with a mohawk to an optimistic, bright-eyed young woman, and I learned everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) the hard way.”

Melanie Collins – on air

A host for entertainment and sports programs alike, Melanie is a versatile superstar in the TV reporting world. She has covered countless athletes and has been under the limelight for long enough that she’s already a natural. She’s worked for NASCAR, Big Ten Network, and NBA TV, among many others. She is a staple in the world of young and fresh sports reporters, and audiences around America have responded positively to her presence on their television sets.

Melanie Collins – off air

A host for entertainment and sports programs alike, Melanie is a versatile superstar in the TV reporting world. She has covered countless athletes and has been under the limelight for long enough that she’s already a natural. She’s worked for NASCAR, Big Ten Network, and NBA TV, among many others. She is a staple in the world of young and fresh sports reporters, and audiences around America have responded positively to her presence on their television sets.

Heidi Watney – on air

This University of San Diego graduate is one of those classic TV personalities. An MLB network host, she consistently gives baseball fans quality TV with her vivacious energy, and her passion for sports. In 2008, Watney worked in Boston as a host on The Red Sox Report, and continued to be an all around sportscaster for the Red Sox. In 2011, she moved to Los Angeles to work for Time Warner Cable Sportsnet – until eventually joining the MLB Network.

Heidi Watney – off air

A former gymnast Clovis West High School, she eventually went on to receive a National Merit Scholarship, and become an honors graduate. Away from the hustle and bustle of the sports world, Heidi has also managed to find the time to get married. Her wedding took place in 2014 on the 31st of December – New Year’s Eve. Her husband is Mike Wickham, who works in the MLB also as an executive. She is also an avid Instagram user, so check her out!

Erin Andrews – on air

A 39-year-old hailing from Lewiston, Maine, this A-list sportscaster first made her stamp when she appeared on ESPN’s College Gameday. In 2000, she started working for Fox, and four years later moved to ESPN, where she became a staple reporter for nearly a decade. From Super Bowl events to World Series appearances, sports broadcasters all across the states are always happy to have Andrews on call for her informed opinions and infectious energy.

Erin Andrews – off air

For anyone scratching their heads about what makes Andrews tick, they might do well to know that she is a fighter – with a deep well of grit to back it up. The Dancing With The Stars co-host was faced with a traumatic event after someone posted an intimate video of her online. She thought that she would never work again, but she was mistaken. Nearly a decade later, she continues to appear professionally on television as a sports reporter, and the reason is clear – people still love her!