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Jon Champion
Born Jon Champion
23 May 1965 (1965-05-23) (age 44)
Harrogate, UK
Residence Oxfordshire, England
Nationality British
Education Archbishop Holgate Grammar School, York
Occupation Journalist,
Television sports commentator
Home town York
Height 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m)

Jon Champion (born 23 May 1965 in Harrogate, England) is a freelance television commentator who works for ESPN. [1] 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 Carling Cup matches around the globe.



Jon Champion began his career as a commentator and reporter for BBC Radio York, moving to BBC Radio Leeds in 1988 and then on to BBC Radio 2 network sport. In the early '90s he joined BBC Radio 5 Live as a part of their football commentary team working alongside the likes of Mike Ingham and Alan Green, and fronting his own radio programme, Champion Sport.

In 1995, while the BBC's John Motson was taking a sabbatical, Champion made his commentary debut on television for Match of the Day, commentating on Coventry v Nottingham Forest in the Premiership. The following year, he made the switch permanently, and became a part of BBC TV's football team. As well as regularly covering the Premiership and FA Cup for the network, Champion also commentated on the World Cup in 1998 - where, among other things, he was trusted as the BBC's commentator for Argentina v England - and Euro 2000.

In 2001, the TV rights for Premier League highlights changed hands moving to ITV, and Champion made the switch too. Additionally, he led ITV's Carling Cup coverage. He has also commentated on many matches across the Premiership, Football League, and UEFA Champions League, and is one of the lead commentators for TWI's international feed of Premier League matches, along with Alan Parry and Martin Tyler. In addition, he was part of the ITV team for the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, and Euro 2004, where he again had the privilege of commentating on one of England's matches at the tournament. In 2006 Champion covered his third World Cup as a television commentator and his second with ITV. Champion was the commentator for two of England's five matches at the tournament, including their quarter-final defeat to Portugal.

However despite covering England, it was a largely disappointing tournament personally for Champion who was given only a handful of live games, largely unattractive ones, with colleagues Clive Tyldesley and Peter Drury picking up the lions share of matches. It seemed clear that Champion was still very much third-choice behind the top two at ITV, leading to rumours that he might leave for pastures new. Indeed, Champion did not renew his contract with ITV after the World Cup and turned freelance. Whilst he remained an ITV commentator, this freed Jon up to also commentate on a number of UEFA Cup matches for five.

A big development in Jon's career as a commentator occurred during the summer of 2007 when Setanta Sports announced that they had signed up Champion to commentate for them on a non-exclusive basis. Splitting his time between ITV and Setanta, Champion continued to work on the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Football League with ITV, but now had an equal share of Setanta's 46 live Premier League games with Ian Crocker. On Saturday 11 August 2007, Champion was in the commentary box with co-commentator Craig Burley for Setanta's first ever live Premier League match - Aston Villa versus Liverpool. Champion also commentated on a number of 'live' England internationals during the 2008-2009 Euro Championship qualifying, including a famous 4-1 win in Croatia. He also commentated on live FA Cup matches, including his first ever FA Cup Final - Everton v Chelsea in 2009.

After Setanta collapsed, he moved to ESPN as their main Premier League commentator, in addition to his continued work for the Premier League's international coverage.

Champion has worked with Japanese entertainment company Konami on Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, alongside BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson.

Champion has always been an all-round sports broadcaster having commentated on Test Match Special, Rugby League and Swimming during his time with BBC radio and so it was no surprise when he expanded his portfolio further by being an integral part of ITV's coverage of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. Sky's Miles Harrison led ITV's commentary team, but Champion was used all the way through the tournament, commentating on both the semi-final between South Africa and Argentina and the 3rd-place play-off between Argentina and France.

He is a fan of York City, whom he still visits to support.

Jon lives near Oxford with his wife and four children.

In 2007 a song was released containing the lyrics 'Jon Champion is the original Rainman.'

Amusing Quotes

A regular figure in Private Eye's Colemanballs, below are a few memorable lines :

  • "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."
  • 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 camera shot 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."


External links



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