Jon is one of Britain’s leading sports commentators who has covered a wide variety of sports including football, rugby league, Test Cricket and swimming as well reporting on three Olympic Games. He is also one of Match of the Day‘s regular commentators, as well as, commentating on rugby league for BBC TV’s Grandstand, and covering football for BBC Radio 5 Live.
He cut his footballing teeth as a commentator/reporter for BBC Radio Leeds before joining BBC Radio 2 network sport and, later, Radio 5 Live where he also has his own programme, Champion’s Sport.
He also worked as a radio presenter on the 1990 World Cup Finals and as a presenter and commentator in 1994. Euro 96 was his first major championship as a TV commentator, and he also worked on the 1998 World Cup Finals in France.
In 1995 an opportunity arose to further Champions’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.
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.
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, Champions was increasingly heard more on Setanta who had also secured rights to the FA Cup. In May 2009, Champions commentated on his first FA Cup Final.
In his own words, Champion has said; “Radio is almost a reflex thing,” he says. “It’s fast-moving and about getting the names out and the pitch geography of where the action is. Radio is very much a descriptive art. With television, there is no point in describing things that people can see for themselves. Television is much more an interpretative job and identification of the players is everything.”
Jon’s commentaries can also be heard on the worldwide feed of many Premier League and League Cup matches around the globe. He is also a great speaker and a hugely entertaining host.