While professional sports is still very much a man's world, the same is not always true of the sports journalism world, especially not when it comes to the pinnacle of sports journalism: ESPN. Many of the reporters, analysts, anchors, and contributors who make up the channel are women, and many of these women are quite attractive.
In particular, it’s been noted that sideline reporters at football games are usually attractive women (you’ll notice that many of the women on this list spent have been, or currently are, sideline reporters). Freakonimics questioned why this is, when broadcast crews are largely made up of middle-aged men. The answer they suggest is that “[s]ideline reporters aren’t meant to elicit strategy and in-depth information in interviews as much as the players’ and coaches’ emotions, personality, etc., and women are better (or the networks think women are better) at eliciting same.” Women in sports journalism, in other words, are often valued more for their looks than their talents.
On the bright side, there have been many female reporters over the years, including SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak and sports journo wunderkind Olivia Harlan, who have managed to merge beauty with brains.
Here are a few more examples of female sports journalists who are more than just a pretty face.
19 Molly Qerim
Molly Qerim was born in New Haven, Connecticut, not far from the ESPN headquarters in Bristol. She received her MA in journalism from Quinnipiac University.
Her biggest role to date with ESPN has been as the host of First Take, taking over for Cari Champion in 2015. Before that, she was the host of College Football Live and a reporter on Fantasy Football Now. She made her way up to ESPN by first working for CBS, covering everything from college sports to the PGA. She has also covered UFC events.
Qerim has been dating former NBA guard Jalen Rose since July 2016. Their relationship made headlines in October after Rose responded to Eminem's song "Campaign Speech," which contained explicit remarks about Qerim.
18 Steffi Sorensen
Busted Coverage called ESPN sideline reporter Steffi Sorensen the “next Erin Andrews,” for more reason than one. First, they both attended the University of Florida. Second, they both got their start as a sideline reporter for college sports. Third, and most important to this list, they are both attractive blonde women.
Sorensen played basketball at Florida, where she was named team captain, team MVP, and Miss Florida Basketball in 2006. She graduated in 2010 with a degree in telecommunications management. On top of being an ESPN reporter, she is also a fitness model and trainer.
If Erin Andrews’s career trajectory is any indication, then you can expect to see a lot more of Sorensen in the future.
17 Cari Champion
Cari Champion’s career at ESPN started in 2012, taking over as the host of First Take, a sports talk show on ESPN 2. After somehow surviving working with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, she eventually was promoted to the role of anchor on SportsCenter.
Although a relatively fresh face at ESPN, Champion is a veteran of broadcast journalism, having worked at several local news stations after receiving her degree in English (with a minor in mass communications) from UCLA, where she wrote for the school newspaper, The Daily Bruin.
Champion has also worked on ESPN’s E:60, putting together a segment on Cam Newton during the 2014 season.
15 Dianna Russini
Dianna Russini might not be the most well-known person on this list (her Wikipedia page reads just one line, and she has barely 10 thousand followers on Instagram; in fact, perhaps the most coverage she’s ever received in the media was when Washington Redskins GM Scot McCloughan’s wife, Jessica, accused Russini of having an affair with her husband), but she’s as deserving of our attention as any female sportscaster.
Russini, a native of the Bronx, played soccer at George Mason University before venturing into the world of sports reporting. She made a name for herself in Connecticut through her work with NBC, covering both the news and sports. She has been an anchor on SportsCenter since 2015. At the time of her signing with ESPN, she told The Washington Post that it was something she had dreamt of doing her entire life.
14 Samantha Ponder
Football fans will recognize this ESPN reporter’s last name. Samantha Ponder is the wife of current San Francisco 49ers and former Florida State QB Christian Ponder.
Her career in sports, however, stands on its own. After working as a sideline reporter at Liberty University, she joined Fox Sports, covering Pac-10 and Big 12 basketball and football. This soon led to a job with ESPN’s Longhorn Network, which is owned by the University of Texas at Austin.
Since 2012, she has been a reporter and contributor for College Football Live and College GameDay on ESPN. In 2015, she announced that she’d be cutting back on her sports reporting duties in order to spend more time with Christian and their young daughter, Scout.
13 Nicole Briscoe
Illinois native Nicole Briscoe joined ESPN in 2008 when she became the host of ESPN 2’s Nascar Now, a gig she held for roughly six years, at which point she became an anchor for SportsCenter.
Before entering the world of sports journalism, she was a beauty pageant contestant, having won the Miss Illinois Teen USA and finishing as a semi-finalist in the Miss Teen USA in 1998. She would then go on to finish second in Miss Illinois USA in 2001.
A fun fact about Briscoe: She and Danica Patrick went to high school together in Roscoe, Illinois, and were both cheerleaders. That is, until Patrick was kicked off the team for missing too many games.
12 Cassidy Hubbarth
Before she began reporting on athletes, Cassidy Hubbarth was an athlete herself, having excelled in three sports in high school. After high school she studied journalism at Northwestern University and quickly found a job as a reporter for Big Ten Sports Network and Fox Sports. She parlayed her success at the college sports level into a job with ESPN, landing a job with ESPN 3. She’s now an anchor at the channel, having worked on SportsCenter, First Take, SportsNation, and NBA Tonight, to name just a few.
Having been born and raised in Chicago, Hubbarth considers herself a “die-hard Chicago Bulls fan,” telling ESPN Front Row that she and her family would scream at the TV during Bulls games.
11 Britt McHenry
Former college soccer player Britt McHenry got her start as a sports reporter and sometime-anchor for an ABC news station in Washington. After a brief stint as a dugout reporter for the San Diego Padres, she was scooped up by ESPN in 2014. She has made appearnaces on SportsCenter, NFL Live, and Baseball Tonight, among others.
Unfortunately, McHenry recently made headlines for all the wrong reasons, after she was caught on video making disparaging remarks to a tow lot employee. She later apologized for the incident through Twitter, citing stress and emotions for the cause of her outburst. Thankfully, ESPN did not fire her, despite many calling for her removal from the channel, and she returned to work after serving a one-week suspension.
10 Maria Taylor
Maria Taylor, who is 6-feet-2, played basketball and volleyball at the University of Georgia, graduating with a degree in broadcast news. She later returned to university to earn her Masters in Business Administration.
Not long after, she worked with Tim Tebow as a host of SEC Nation on the SEC Network. She currently works as an analyst for both SEC and ESPN, covering college football, men’s and women’s basketball, and volleyball.
Taylor also does her part for future female journalists. She is the co-founder of Winning Edge, which, according to their website, aims to “educate, foster professional mentoring relationships, provide networking opportunities, and enrichment scholarships to ethnic minorities and women who are seeking a career in the sports industry.”
9 Antonietta Collins
Pic from earlier today went like this "Shoulders back... Now look at me... smile... turn a little...hold it!" 😂Add photog to your resume @tiffanyhallbeauty ... Thank you for the beautiful makeup/pic & @hudabeauty lashes l!! 😁 @danielagiugno gracias for always working miracles with my mane! // Hola amigos... Feliz viernes ☺️
Not much is known about Antonietta Collins, aside from the fact that she now works for ESPN’s SportsCenter as an anchor. She was born in Mexico, where she was a member of the country’s U19 women’s soccer team. After high school, she moved to Ohio to attend the University of Mount Union, where she completed a degree in communications. From there, she moved to Florida and began her journalism career by working at local TV stations. She then began covering Dallas sports (Cowboys, Stars, Mavericks, and FC Dallas) for Univision’s Deportes 23, putting her dual citizenship to good use.
Collins joined the ESPN team in 2013 and has quickly risen within the ranks, now a vital part of the channel’s flagship program and a host of One Nación on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish language channel.
8 Elle Duncan
After several years in radio, Elle Duncan transitioned to television when she was hired to be the traffic reporter for an Atlanta NBC news station. She was then picked up by NESN to cover Boston sports.
Duncan’s only been with ESPN for a few months, joining as the anchor of SportsCenter in April 2016, but she’s already proven herself to be one of the bright young stars on the channel.
She’s been named one of the Top 25 Women in Atlanta, the Top 50 Most Beautiful Atlantans, and one of Atlanta’s Top 30 Under 30 (later followed by Top 40 Under 40). And she can now add Top 15 Hottest Women of ESPN.
6 Jaymee Sire
One thing’s for sure: There’s been no shortage of work for Jaymee Sire at ESPN. Since joining the channel in 2013, she has worked on NFL Live, College Football Live, and Fantasy Football Now, and since 2013 she has covered the Little League World Series. To top it all off, she is also an anchor for SportsCenter.
Sire got her sports journalism start in the Bay Area, covering Warriors, Sharks, and Athletics games for CSN from 2008-13. During her time in California, she was nominated for three regional Emmys (she won one), and in 2004 she won a Golden Mike.
Outside of sports, Sire is a self-professed food lover and runs her own food blog called “e is for eat.”
5 Lindsay Czarniak
After receiving her degree in online journalism from James Madison University, Lindsay Czarniak began working behind the camera as a production assistant at CNN. She first stepped in front of the camera as a reporter for Jacksonville’s WAWS. Not long after, she became a sports reporter, thanks to the help of famed sportscaster George Michael, who gave her a job as the co-host of his show, The George Michael Sports Machine. From there she eventually made her way over to ESPN, where she’s been the anchor of SportsCenter since 2011.
Fun fact about Czarniak: She went to high school with rapper Ludacris (who went by Chris Bridges at the time), a fact that she wasn’t even sure of until she interviewed him in 2015.
2 Kaylee Hartung
Kaylee Hartung is a double-threat: She received degrees in journalism and politics from Washington and Lee University and has been covering both sports and politics since graduating. On the politics side, she has worked as an associate producer for Face the Nation on CBS and as a reporter for CBSNews.com. On the sports side, she works for ESPN’s SEC Network. She also succeeded Samantha Ponder on the Longhorn Network.
Hartung was once linked to former Florida Gator Tim Tebow, with whom she worked on SEC Nation. Turns out, however, the two were just friends, and she has since stated that she’s too busy with her work life to be concerned with a dating life (although she has made vague references to a boyfriend on Twitter).
Because of her looks, the Louisiana native often receives marriage proposals (mostly in jest) from her male admirers.
1 Olivia Harlan
Back in 2015, GQ named Olivia Harlan “the next big sideline reporter,” calling her a “stunning female in a male-dominated world.” But she is so much more than just a pretty face. At just 22 years old, she already had three jobs: covering the Atlanta Hawks for Fox Sports, hosting ACC All Access, and working as a college football reporter for ESPN.
She sped through her degree in broadcast journalism, graduating in less than four years, and quickly jumpstarted her pro career, which has been booming ever since. She has since added sideline reporter for Green Bay Packers preseason games to her ever-growing resume.
Like her colleague Nicole Briscoe, Harlan is a former beauty pageant. She was named Miss Kansas Teen USA in 2010.
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