These Are The Best Sideline Reporters In Sports
Anyone who watches sports from the comfort of their homes knows the importance of the sideline reporter. Usually a position held by a woman, the sideline reporter’s job is to find players after a big moment, like hitting a World Series clinching home run, and interview them. While Erin Andrews may be considered the best in the business, she has competition from plenty of other incredible stars. These are the best sideline reporters and female sportscasters in professional sports broadcasting. Which one is your favorite?
Alanna Rizzo Calls The Dodgers Dugout Her Home
Alanna Rizzo graduated with a Masters in Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2003. Shortly after leaving school, she began her career, getting her first big break in Texas before heading back to her home state of Colorado.
Working for ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain, Rizzo won three regional Emmy awards. Currently, she calls Los Angeles home, where she works for Spectrum SportsNet LA and makes most of her on-air appearances in the Dodgers dugout.
Alex Curry Interviews Ninjas
How many sideline reporters can say they get to interview ninjas for a living? Alex Curry can. In 2015, the up-and-coming broadcast journalist became a sideline reporter and co-host of Team Ninja Warrior on USA Network.
Three years later she was pulled away from USA Network to work for Fox Sports, where she was able to cover Major League Baseball, international soccer, and college football. The network has also given her the opportunity to fill in as a host on the highly popular hot take program Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.
Allie LaForce Went From The SEC Network To TNT
Before becoming a successful sideline reporter and sports broadcaster, Allie LaForce got her start on the pageant circuit. She won Miss Teen USA in 2005. As a prize for winning, she was given a scholarship to the School for Film and Television in New York City.
Skip ahead nine years to 2014 and LaForce got her first national break, being named a sideline reporter for the SEC on CBS. In 2018, LaForce left CBS for TNT to join the national NBA coverage.
Cari Champion Worker Her Way From The Sideline To The Studio
One of the most recognizable faces on ESPN, Cari Champion had a long fight with the network to earn her spot behind the desk on Sportscenter. First hired by the network in 2012, she served as the moderator on First Take between Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.
In 2014, she received national acclaim for a profile she did on then-Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton. She spent the next six months convincing network executives to put her on Sportscenter, ESPN’s signature program.
Charissa Thompson Has Reported For Every Network
Charissa Thompson began her sportscasting career in 2007 working for the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports Net. As a sideline reporter, she worked her way up to appear in the highest-profile games. In 2008, she made her NFL sideline debut.
After four years with Fox Sports Net, Thompson moved on to ESPN, becoming a co-host on the show Numbers Never Lie. By 2013, Thompson was back with Fox in a bigger role, as Fox Sports 1 was launched to compete with ESPN.
Erin Andrews Is The Gold Standard
Erin Andrews might just be the most recognizable and popular sideline reporter and female sports broadcaster of her generation. Originally hired by ESPN in 2004 as a reporter for ESPN National Hockey Night, she eventually got the call to join the sidelines for both NFL and MLB broadcasts.
After a long career with ESPN, Andrews joined the team at Fox Sports where she has become a staple on the sidelines during NFL broadcasts. Outside of sports, Andrews has also been a host of the CMT Awards and Dancing with the Stars.
Heidi Watney Is Married To Baseball
For seemingly her entire sideline and sportscasting career, Heidi Watney has been married to baseball. She first broke into the business as an on-field reporter for The Red Sox Report in Boston.
In 2012, Watney was hired by the MLB Network to join their national coverage. One year after joining the network, she became the host of Quick Pitch, a daily recap show of games during the regular season. In 2019, she made her video game debut as a vocal contributor to MLB The Show 19.
Kaylee Hartung Left ESPN For ABC
Kaylee Hartung had a short-lived but successful sportscasting career before ditching ESPN to join ABC News. While working for ESPN, Hartung contributed to the SEC Network, most notably on the show SEC Nation. She also briefly worked as a broadcaster for the Longhorn Network.
Hartung’s final appearance for ESPN cam in 2017 during the NCAA Women’s Division I Tournament Regional Final game between Baylor and Mississippi State. She announced her departure on Twitter.
Kristine Leahy Is Outspoken
After she left college, Kristine Leahy began working for WEEI, a radio station in Boston. Eventually, she was hired full time to be a reporter for the Boston Celtics official website. In 2012 she transitioned to CBS Los Angeles before taking her first national job with NBC for American Ninja Warrior.
After her NBC gig ended, she moved onto ESPN and joined Colin Cowherd on his radio program. Her professional relationship continued with Cowherd as he transitioned to Fox Sports when she found herself in confrontation with LaVar Ball on national television.
Laura Rutledge Started In Tampa Bay
Laura Rutledge started her career as a sideline reporter for the Tampa Bay Rays for Fox before taking her talents to San Diego to do the same job with the Padres. By 2013, she was hosting her own show for the Chargers, Chargers Insider as well as SDLive, a show she created.
In 2014, Rutledge started her first national gig with ESPN. Working with ESPN and the SEC Network, Rutledge hosts post-game and half-time shows for college football programming.
Maria Taylor Is An Up-And-Coming Star
Although Maria Taylor’s career began in 2012 with ESPN, she was mostly relegated to covering college sports until 2019. She started as a sideline reporter for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Show.
In 2017, Taylor replaced Samantha Ponder on ESPN College GameDay and even began calling major games in the booth alongside Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. In 2019, Taylor was given hosting duties for NBA Countdown, ESPN’s Friday night pre-game show national NBA telecasts.
Meredith Marakovits Is A New York Staple
Meredith Marakovitz has been covering the New York Yankees since 2010 when she was hired as a reporter for 1050 ESPN. Before starting her career in pinstripes she was a pre-game host, post-game host, and sideline reporter for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
At the start of the 2012 MLB season, Marakovitz was hired by the YES Network to work as a sideline reporter for the New York Yankees. Since then, she has been a staple for fans during regional Yankees’ broadcasts.
Molly McGrath Hosted Battlebots
Molly McGrath first started sportscasting in 2009 while attending Boston College. While there, she convinced the school’s athletic director to allow her to interview athletes for the school’s website. After graduating, she took a job at ESPN as a production assistant.
In 2013, McGrath was hired by Fox Sports and quickly rose through the ranks of the upstart Fox Sports 1. By 2014, she was a co-host on America’s Pregame. In 2015, ABC tapped her to host their revival of Battlebots.
Olivia Dekker Is Sportscasting Royalty
The daughter of iconic sportscaster Kevin Harlan, Olivia changed her last name after marrying Sam Dekker, a college basketball star from Wisconsin. While her father has covered the NBA and NFL, Olivia has stuck mostly to college sports, starting small before joining the ESPN team in 2015.
Working locally in Green Bay, Dekker has also worked with Westwood One as a sideline reporter for the Packers. In 2018, she and her father made history when they became the first daddy-daughter duo to work an NFL game together.
Rebecca Haarlow Went From Public Relations To The Sidelines
Rebecca Haarlow took the path less traveled to find sideline stardom. In 2003, she was working as the Public Relations Coordinator for Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment. After four years in PR, she was hired by the Portland Trailblazers as a sideline reporter.
Haarlow transitioned from the NBA to the NFL when she joined the NFL Network in 2011. Her stint in a national spotlight was short-lived, however, as she moved on to The MSG Network in 2015 to become a reporter for the New York Knicks.
Samantha Ponder Hosts Sunday NFL Countdown
Beginning her career with Fox Sports Net in 2009, Samantha Ponder has become one of the most recognizable sportscasters currently working today. Her rise to prominence was a quick one, too. In 2011 she moved from Fox to ESPN, where she was hired as a sideline reporter.
As her career and role with ESPN expanded, she was promoted to their NFL coverage. Currently, she serves as the host and moderator for ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown.
Britt McHenry Left Sports For Fox Nation
One of the more controversial figures on this list is Britt McHenry. She started her career in Washington as a regional sportscaster and sideline reporter before being hired by ESPN to be their Washington D.C. sports correspondent.
McHenry came under fire in 2015 when she verbally berated a towing lot employee. Her actions were recorded and leaked online, leading her to apologize and placing her job in jeopardy. Two years later, McHenry was laid off by ESPN and started working for Fox Nation.
Michelle Beisner-Buck Fit In Perfectly At The NFL Network
Unlike other sportscasters we’ve listed, Michelle Beisner-Buck did not get her start in college athletics. One of her first jobs was working as a sideline reporter and correspondent for ESPN’s auto racing coverage.
Eventually, Beisner-Buck moved onto the NFL Network, where she became a staple for eight years, covering every aspect of the game. Not only was she the host of NFL Weekly Countdown, but she also served as a field reporter for NFL GameDay Morning and NFL Total Access.
Italian Diletta Leotta Knows How To Present
Italian sideline reporter and TV personality Diletta Leotta knows a thing or two about sports, but she also studied Law at Luiss University in Rome! Born in Sicily, Leotta is a presenter on the Serie A broadcasts for DAZN, and has also presented Serie B on Italy’s Sky Sport network.
She’s also a co-host of 105 Take Away on Radio 105 Network and has hosted the 2018 Miss Italia competition.
Sage Steele Is In It To Win It
Sage Steele is one of the longest-tenured sideline reporters/sportscasters. She started her iconic career in 1995 for a regional CBS affiliate in Indiana. She worked her way across the United States, making pit stops in Tampa Bay and Maryland before finally joining ESPN in 2007.
On ESPN, Steele became an anchor on SportsCenter. Surprisingly, she was initially offered a job by the network three years earlier but decided to turn it down, believing it was not the right time.
Lindsay Czarniak Loves Fast Cars
Lindsay Cznarniak got her first big break in 2006 when she traveled to Italy to cover the 2006 Winter Olympics for NBC Sports. Around the same time, she began her career as a sideline reporter for NASCAR coverage.
In 2008, Czarniak again covered the Olympics, this time in China. Three years later, she was hired by ESPN where she covered pre-season football. The thrill of NASCAR never left her, though, and in 2018 she began working directly with Joe Gibbs Racing to produce digital content. She also signed on with Fox Sports in 2019 to work as a studio analyst for the network’s racing coverage.
Jenn Brown Started In Premium Cable
Before accepting a job with ESPN, Jenn Brown worked with premium pay cable outlet Showtime as a sports reporter. She was a correspondent on Inside the NFL for two years. She also helped cover MMA and boxing events.
When she moved to ESPN, Brown began covering a variety of sporting events, including the College World Series, the Little League World Series, and the X Games. Most recently she worked as a reporter for American Ninja Warrior.
Jen Hale Went From The Saints Sidelines To The Fox Sports Desk
Born in New Orleans and raised in Alabama, when it came time for Jen Hale to start her sportscasting career, she planted her flag in Louisiana. Working as an anchor for WVUE-DT, Hale covered the LSU college football program and the New Orleans Saints.
Based on a recommendation from the Saints, Hale was hired at Fox Sports, where she has received national acclaim. During the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup, Hale was given her biggest assignment to date, filling in for Jenny Taft as the moderator of Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.
Kristen Ledlow Loves The NBA
After a brief stint working in the world of college football, Kristen Ledlow transitioned her sideline career to the NBA. In 2015 she joined the NBA TV team and became the host of NBA Inside Stuff.
On top of her duties with NBA TV, Ledlow also works with TNT on the networks NBA coverage. Just 32-years-old and already a national star, there’s no reason to believe that Ledlow’s career will not continue to ascend.
Hannah Storm Made History In 2018
Hannah Storm first broke into the sportscasting world with CNN Sports Tonight in 1989. In addition, she also began working with TBS on the national MLB coverage. Nearly 20 years of sports coverage later, Storm joined ESPN, but it would be what she did 30 years into her career that made history.
In 2018, Amazon Prime won streaming rights to Thursday Night Football coverage. The streaming giant quickly hired Storm and Andrea Kremer to call the games from the booth, making them the first women in history to call an NFL game together.
Molly Qerim Has The Best “First Takes”
Molly Qerim joined First Take on ESPN in 2015 as the show’s permanent host and moderator. Since then, she has been seen as a calming voice between the arguing of Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman.
Before taking a seat at the table, Qerim worked for CBS Sports Network, where she covered everything from college football to March Madness. When she moved to the leader in sports entertainment, she continued to cover sports both on the sideline and in the studio.
Melissa Stark Covered Super Bowl XXXVII
Best known for her three-year stint as the featured sideline reporter on Monday Night Football, Melissa Stark has done much more in her career than just interview football players. In 2008 she helped cover the Beijing Olympics for NBC, for example.
Stark first joined ESPN in 1996 as the host of Scholastic Sports America, a high school-oriented educational sports program. In 2000, she moved to ABC, where he started covering MNF and even reported on the sidelines during Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego.
Lauren Shehadi Is A Name To Watch
Lauren Shehadi began her career covering college sports for CBS before being hired by the MLB Network. Alongside other analysts and former players, Shehadi co-hosted several shows, including The Rundown and MLB Central.
In 2020, Shehadi was set to make her return to college sports as a sideline reporter for CBS’ March Madness coverage. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances caused the annual tournament to be canceled, pushing back her big debut until 2021.
Molly Sullivan Is A Philly Gal
Despite sporadic national appearances, Molly Sullivan has spent most of her career dedicated to Philadelphia sports. In 2007 she was hired by Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia to be a sideline reporter. During this time, she also made brief appearances as a fill-in on TNT for Craig Sager.
In 2018, Sullivan signed a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles to become the host of the team’s training camp coverage. She was so good that the team extended her contract to allow her to cover the regular season as well.
Sam Ryan Circled Back Home
When she first started out in sportscasting, Sam Ryan worked for WBAB Babylon in New York. She gained attention very quickly and was picked up by the ABC Radio Network in 1996, then signed with Fox Sports New York in 2000.
By 2002, Ryan was working at WABC-TV ABC. In 2011 she joined the MLB Network and appeared regularly on The Rundown and Quick Pitch. In 2017, Ryan was a sideline reporter for TBS during the National League Championship Series between the Cubs And Dodgers. By 2018, she returned to one of her starting spots, WABC-TV ABC.
Lindsay Rhodes’ Love Of Sports Started In High School
While she was still in high school, Lindsay Rhodes worked as the sports editor for her yearbook publication. In college, she interned at the USC Athletic Departments and Fox Sports Net while earning her degree in broadcast journalism.
All of Rhodes’ dedication paid off in 2008 when she was hired as a full-time sportscaster for NFL Network. In her time at the network, she has worked as both a sideline reporter and an in-studio analyst.