Sportscasters are an arguably crucial part to any good game. Providing expert commentary, or provocative post-game analysis, the world of sports just wouldn’t be the same without them. Many of these sportscasters’ salaries like Erin Andrews’s are well into the six figures. And that’s on the low side! It’ll be hard to focus on the game once you realize how much the highest paid sportscasters make.
1. Adam Schefter – Estimated $1 Million
Adam Schefter has been a popular sportscaster for the NFL since 2009. Before becoming a fixture in the world of sports broadcasting, Schefter was a writer for The Denver Post. The former journalist made the transition to sports television in 2004, appearing five times on ESPN’s Around the Horn as a substitute for Woody Page.
Schefter was so well suited to the job that he was voted the second best insider just behind Chris Mortenson the same year he was hired. In 2017, he was given a contract with NBA on ESPN as a sideline reporter, allowing him to live the dream of many fans by attending select games for free.
2. Rachel Nichols – Estimated $1.5 Million
Rachel Nichols dove headfirst into sports journalism immediately after graduation from Northwestern University. She originally followed the NHL’s Washington Capitals writing for the Washington Post. Her hard work and dedication paid off, and by 2004 she became a regular on ESPN’s SportsCenter, covering both the NFL and NBA.
In 2013, Nichols moved over to CNN where she began hosting her own show, Unguarded with Rachel Nichols. Her captivating reporting earned her the Sports Illustrated title of “the country’s most impactful and prominent female sports journalist.” She is currently back on ESPN, where she has been unafraid to confront big names in sports like Roger Goodell and Floyd Mayweather over their transgressions.
3. Rece Davis – Estimated $1.5 Million
Rece Davis has made quite a name for himself at ESPN, particularly as host of the College GameDay football road show. That contract, which he signed in 2015, doesn’t expire until 2021, meaning that for the foreseeable future, Davis likely isn’t going to have to worry about money and finances for awhile.
In addition to his time on ESPN, Davis was also one of the hosts for ABC’s coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, although his passion has been in football and, in particular, basketball. When asked about his career choice, Davis responded with, “I know I’m the luckiest guy around. I get to watch basketball and talk about it.”
4. Hannah Storm – Estimated $1.5 Million
Who would’ve guessed that a girl from a small town in Illinois would go on to become a sports anchor on a nationally syndicated network? But that is exactly what happened to Hannah Storm. The Illinois native graduated from the University of Notre Dame in the early 1980s, with some college-based journalism experience under her belt. By 1989, she was already talking to the nation on CNN.
Storm eventually moved to ESPN in 2008 where she began anchoring SportsCenter on weekdays. Her willingness to grill analysts about their perspectives of the game captivated viewers and she was soon given the position of news anchor on SportsCenter. In 2018, Storm and Andrea Kremer became the first female duo to call an NFL game, doing so for Amazon Prime.
NEXT: How the next sportscaster worked their way up to the top is truly remarkable.
5. Jay Bilas – Estimated $2 Million
Jay Bilas knows college basketball very well. When he graduated high school in 1982, Bilas was a Top 50 recruit for college scouts. The California native played four years at Duke University and even represented the U.S. on the National Select Team, playing in the Jones Cup in Taiwan. Bilas then went back to Duke to get his J.D. degree while simultaneously working as the assistant coach for his former team.
Like many of the other sportscasters’ salaries on this list, Bilas undoubtedly does very well for himself, earning approximately $2 million per year. During his time as a broadcaster, the former college athlete has earned those zeros on his paycheck by being nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by a Studio Analyst for two years in a row.
6. Curt Menefee – Estimated $3 Million
After graduating from Coe College in 1987, Curt Menefee jumped straight into sports broadcasting, working for local television stations in New York and Jacksonville, Florida. In the late 1990s Menefee began broadcasting on Fox Sports full-time, providing play-by-play announcements for NFL Europe and Fox NFL.
Unlike many others who earn generous sportscasters’ salaries, Menefree doesn’t just focus on one or two sports. His expertise brings him from European soccer games to the NFL, MLB, and UFC. He is currently the host for the show Fox NFL Sunday, where he also works with the likes of Jimmy Johnson, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, and Michael Strahan.
7. Linda Cohn – Estimated $3 Million
Growing up, analyzing sports was just another part of life for Linda Cohn. The New York native shared a connection with her father by often watching sports with him. After graduating SUNY Oswego, Cohn took her first step to sportscaster fame by becoming a sports anchor for a local New York based radio station.
In 1992, Cohn was hired to anchor on ESPN SportsCenter. She had a rocky start, and was almost fired after the network said it didn’t appear as if she actually loved sports when she was on air. Cohn was able to turn things around though, and on February 21, 2016 hosted her 5,000th edition of SportsCenter. That’s why they pay her the big bucks!
8. Suzy Kolber – Estimated $3 Million
Suzy Kolber was both a skier and a sports journalist when she was a student at the University of Miami. Her talent was recognized early on when she won a local Sports Emmy for her work as a Miami sports broadcaster. From then on, her future as an anchor and reporter in the sports world seemed certain.
In 1993 Kolber accepted a position at ESPN and became one of the original anchors of ESPN2. She left ESPN2 briefly to work for Fox, but found herself back at home on ESPN2 not long after. Her sports commentary is so familiar to football fans that her voice has even been used in ESPN NFL video games.
9. Samantha Ponder – Estimated $4.9 Million
Samantha Ponder earns her big bucks by hosting the ever-popular Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN. Ponder truly worked her way to the top, starting out as a hostess at the ESPN owned restaurant, ESPN Zone. Her time there led her to meet some very influential figures who offered her an internship at the network.
In no time her career was soaring, and Ponder was working as a sideline reporter for college football and basketball. By 2012 she had replaced Erin Andrews on College GameDay Saturdays. Her sideline work paid off when she was offered the host position on the network’s popular show. Sports isn’t only her work though, it’s also her personal life, particularly after she married Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder.
NEXT: The next sportscaster salary truly took everyone by surprise.
10. Michael Wilbon – Estimated $6 Million
Not only is he a sports analyst for ESPN, Michael Wilbon has honed many talents which he uses to contribute to providing sports commentary and analysis to his fans. Wilbon is a sportswriter and columnist for The Washington Post, and has been a co-host on the ESPN show, Pardon the Interruption, with Tony Kornheiser, since 2001.
Conflicts have arisen over Wilbon’s multiple full time jobs, such as when, in February 2007, Wilbon was asked to cover both a Detroit Pistons vs Cleveland Cavaliers game and Super Bowl XLI. Ultimately ESPN won out and was unable to cover the Super Bowl for the post, but his resignation was refused and he was asked to stay, contributing to his handsome salary.
11. Scott Van Pelt – Estimated $4 Million
The late night co-anchor of ESPN’s SportsCenter started his career working on the Golf Channel. There, Scott Van Pelt was a studio host for some of the most popular programs on the network between 1995-2000. He continued sportscasting for golf after he joined ESPN, covering the Masters Tournament and The Open Championship.
Van Pelt was given an opportunity to display his talent and co-host his own radio syndicate, which he excelled at, and was eventually given his own radio show on ESPN called The Scott Van Pelt Show. ESPN treated the well-known golf sportscaster so well that he stayed, eventually being given a promotion to host the midnight edition of SportsCenter.
12. Michael Strahan – Estimated $4 Million
Michael Strahan is a former Super Bowl champion turned sports broadcaster. In 1993 he was drafted to the New York Giants, and by 1997 had a record season as a defensive end, recording 14 sacks. He was Player of the Year in 2001 and 2003 and in 2014 was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 2012, Strahan began his career in broadcasting in the daytime talk show Live! With Kelly and Michael, and ended up winning two daytime Emmys for his charismatic on screen personality. Currently, the former football star is a football analyst on Fox NFL Sunday and co-host of ABC’s Strahan, Sara, and Keke and is likely making one of the highest sportscasters’ salaries for a former pro player.
13. Chris Berman – Estimated $5 Million
After graduating from the prestigious Brown University, Chris Berman began what would span to be a 42 year career as a local TV anchor in Hartford, Connecticut. Two years, in 1979, later he joined ESPN, exactly a month after the company was founded and stayed with them ever since.
By 1993 Berman was known as both the leader of the ESPN team and, quite possibly, the most recognizable sportscaster in the business. Berman has worked as a host on the Sunday NFL Countdown and the Monday NFL Countdown, along with anchoring the U.S. Open golf and the Stanley Cup Finals. He is well known for helping to launch ESPN’s early popularity, and his many catchphrases and quirky humor have given him a loyal fan following.
14. Michelle Beadle – Estimated $5 Million
Originally born in Italy, Michelle Beadle spent the majority of her childhood growing up in Texas and even started her career as an intern for the San Antonio Spurs. From there the loyal Texan got an opportunity to be a sports reporter at Fox Sports Net as the host of Big Game Hunters.
In 2009 Beadle joined ESPN, co-hosting SportsCenter on ESPN2. During her call back she was asked to write about how she would improve the show. Thinking it was a prank, Beadle later said wrote “a sarcastic list of 10 stupid things,” which ironically landed her the job. Currently, Michelle Beadle makes her big bucks focusing on NBA coverage, a dream job for many, and one which could pay one of the best sportscasters’ salaries in the business.
NEXT: For such a recognizable face, the amount of zeros in the next sportscaster’s paycheck should come as no surprise.
15. Mike Golic – Estimated $5 Million
The former co-host of ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike, Mike Golic has been both a fan and player of football since an early age. After high school he played football for the University of Notre Dame, eventually becoming captain of the Fighting Irish’s football team. Golic was a tenth round pick for the NFL, playing for the Houston Oilers, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Miami Dolphins.
After hosting Mike and Mike for 17 years, the former professional football player went on to earn an impressive sportscaster’s salary as co-host of Golic and Wingo along with being an analyst for ESPN and ESPN2. In addition, Golic takes a more humorous look at the sport with his blooper highlight reel called The Lighter Side of Sports.
16. Skip Bayless – Estimated $6 Million
Skip Bayless was actually born John Edward Bayless II, but growing up his parents always called him Skip, as in “skipper of a ship,” and from then on the name stuck. Eventually, John Bayless had his first name legally changed to Skip, and when Fox Sports 1 debuted his show, it was called Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.
Before becoming a sportscaster and earning that surprisingly sweet sportscaster’s salary, Bayless worked in print journalism. First for the Miami Herald and then for other prestigious papers like The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Dallas Morning News. Since then, he has appeared on the radio, television, and even had a cameo appearance in the 2006 Rocky Balboa film.
17. Howie Long – Estimated $4 Million
Howie Long has been lucky and talented enough to play professional football, work as a sportscaster, and even work in Hollywood as a professional actor. His rise to success began in 1981 when he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders as a defensive end. His meteoric football career included eight Pro Bowl championships and a Super Bowl victory.
Post-football, Long starred alongside John Travolta in Broken Arrow, and has worked with many other big names in films like 3000 Miles to Graceland and in That Thing You Do! Football always seemed to be Long’s true passion though, and even while playing, he said knew he wanted to stay in broadcasting. He may have one of the most enviable sportscasters’ salaries working as a studio analyst for Fox Sports’ NFL coverage.
18. Charissa Thompson – Estimated $700,000
Charissa Thompson’s sportscasting includes work in football, basketball, basketball, and even beatboxing. The Washington native got her start working reporting on baseball games before becoming a Fox sideline reporter for the NFL. From there she worked on ESPN, Versus, GSN, and the Big Ten Network.
Currently, the popular sportscaster makes her living working as a television host for Fox Sports. Her wide ranging experience in commentating on, and even competing in different sports, has made her a sought-after hostess and sportscaster for many different on-air programs. She may not be making the highest of all the sportscasters’ salaries on this list, but Thompson makes up for that deficit with free tickets to nearly any game.
19. Erin Andrews – Estimated $2 Million
Erin Andrews co-hosts the ABC dance competition Dancing with the Stars, but she quickly became a star in the world of sportscasting when she became a reporter on ESPN in April, 2004 after working for Fox Sports Florida as a freelance reporter in 2000. Since 2015, Andrews replaced Pam Oliver as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports, and she earns an estimated $2 million a year. Her total net worth is around $20 million.
Erin Andrews has an on-air presence at many major sporting events including the World Series and Super Bowl, where she boosts athletes morale. For her, it’s not just about reporting sports statistics but living and breathing sports and the stories of athletes. What’s more, Andrews became an ambassador for Orangetheory Fitness in October, 2016 and a created a line of clothing with sports retailer Fanatics in October, 2019.
NEXT: Put down the nachos and hot wings or you might choke when you see how much this next sportscaster makes!
20. Terry Bradshaw – Estimated $1 Million
The former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback who led his team to a Superbowl championship four times in a row has kept an impressive incomes as an NFL football analyst. While not the highest of all the sportscaster’s salaries on this list, Terry Bradshaw was hired at the price of a cool million a year.
As a television analyst, Bradshaw is known for adopting the persona of an “ol’ redneck,” a persona which names like Jimmy Johnson have laughingly informed audiences is just an act. Bradshaw’s time in the limelight as a sportscaster has kept him in the public space where many still consider him one of the most popular players in NFL history, even 35 years after his retirement.
21. Jimmy Johnson – Estimated $600,000
After graduating from the University of Arkansas, where he played next to future Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson went on to become only one of three coaches to lead both a college team to a major championship, and an NFL team to a Super Bowl victory.
Nicknamed “Jimmy Jumpup” for his propensity to be constantly moving around while his team played, Jimmy Johnson became a TV studio analyst for Fox Sports after retiring from coaching in 1999. Currently, Johnson works as an on-air staff member on the popular show Fox NFL Sunday, and remains a legendary figure in the NFL according to many.
22. Colin Cowherd – Estimated $6 Million
Beginning his career as a sports anchor on Las Vegas’ local KVBC television station, Colin Cowherd would go on to be one of the original hosts on ESPN’s SportsNation. Cowherd was so well-received on the show that he was given his own program called Colin’s New Football Show.
During his time on ESPN, Cowherd began a new show called The Herd With Colin Cowherd. The show was so popular that once Cowherd left ESPN, Fox Sports immediately picked him up and moved his show to the primetime spot on their radio channel, Fox Sports Radio. Cowherd earns one of the highest sportcaster’s salaries through his “engaging mix of entertainment, information, and reportage,” and Sports Illustrated even named him the “Radio Personality of the Year.”
23. Tony Kornheiser – Estimated $6 Million
With a sports column career stretching all the way back to 1970, Tony Kornheiser made a name for himself writing with a cheeky and sarcastic sense of humor. Sports Illustrated once described Kornheiser as “the wittiest columnist” in American newspapers. Kornheiser’s talents have lately been utilized by The Washington Post, where he has been writing for 40 years.
In addition to his prolific writing, Kornheiser is also the co-host of the Emmy Award-winning ESPN sports show, Pardon the Interruption. He is also the podcast host of The Tony Kornheiser Show. The famed writer, television host, and podcast host has such a wide range of mediums for reporting on sports that ESPN executive, John Walsh, determined that “in the history of sports media, [Kornheiser] is the most multi talented person ever.”
24. Mike Greenberg – Estimated $6.5 Million
Mike Greenberg is the other Mike on ESPN Radio’s show, Mike and Mike, hosting alongside Mike Golic. The New York native has been hosting on ESPN since 1996, having the distinction of being one of the first five hosts of ESPNEWS.
In addition to being a well known sportscaster, Mike Greenberg is also a published author. His first book, Why My Wife Thinks I’m an Idiot: The Life and Times of a Sportscaster Dad, reached number 14 on the New York Times Bestseller list. He is currently the host of the weekly ESPN syndicate, Get Up! His wife may think he’s an idiot, but hopefully appreciates being married to one of the highest earners in the industry according to our calculations.
25. Stephen A. Smith – Estimated $10 Million
Growing up in the Bronx, New York, former college basketball point guard, Stephen A. Smith, would grow up to be one of the highest earning sportscasters in the United States. The son of a hardware store manager, Smith began his career while playing ball in college, displaying his propensity for tackling controversial issues by writing that his basketball coach, Hall of Famer Clarence Gaines, should retire for health reasons.
Currently, Smith is a commentator on ESPN First Take, but also makes regular appearances as an NBA analyst on SportsCenter. Known for providing provocative analysis and always maintaining his serious demeanor, Smith recently renegotiated his salary to a cool $10 million annually with ESPN.
26. Jim Rome – Estimated $30 Million
Jim Rome is the host of the CBS Sports Radio show, The Jim Rome Show. Airing live Monday to Friday, the show is broadcast in over 200 radio stations throughout the United States and Canada and boasts a listenership of over 2.5 million people, ranking the show at number 21 most listened to talk radio show in the United States.
Rome is one of the highest paid figures in sports radio, and is considered to be one of the top 100 most influential talk radio hosts according to Talkers Magazine. Rome also holds live events, the Jim Rome’s Tour Stops, and have reportedly had over 10,000 people attending many of these live venues. He makes the highest of the sportscasters’ salaries on this list, coming in at an estimated $30 million.
Honorable Mention #1: Kevin Harlan – $400,000
The son of Green Bay Packers executive Bob Harlan, it seems that Kevin Harlan was born to broadcast in sports. By high school he was already calling the play-by-plays at the school’s radio station and at age 22 he was the television and radio host of the NBA’s Kansas City (now Sacramento) Kings.
Currently Harlan broadcasts both NFL and college basketball games on CBS and is also an NBA announcer for TNT. Harlan also has the distinction of having broadcast the second-most consecutive Super Bowl games in history, coming in at nine just behind Jack Buck’s 17. Any doubt about the Milwaukee native being paid too much of a sportscaster’s salary was likely removed in 2017 after he was voted National Sportscaster of the Year.
Honorable Mention #2: Dan Shulman – $1 million
Born in Ontario, Canada, it doesn’t seem like Dan Shulman was planning for a career in sports broadcasting after graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in actuarial science (business risk assessment). In fact, one of his first sportscasting gigs wasn’t even paid, Shulman volunteered at his local community television station after college.
That volunteering seems to have paid off in a big way. In 2001 Shulman was hired by ESPN where he has worked ever since, becoming a play-by-play announcer for men’s college basketball along with MLB games. He hasn’t totally abandoned Canada for the States however, Shulman still calls games for the Toronto Blue Jays – hopefully his family in Ontario is okay with that!
Honorable Mention #3: Troy Aikman – $1 million
The former NFL quarterback who played 11 years with the Dallas Cowboys, retired in 2001 and quickly became a member of Fox’s NFC telecasts. Just a year after being hired, Aikman was already getting promoted to Fox’s lead announcing crew.
While working for Fox, Aikman quickly earned a fresh wave of the respect and success that he had previously received as a three-time Super Bowl champion in the NFL. In 2004 Aikman received an Emmy Award nomination for his broadcasting abilities and has since helped to broadcast five Super Bowls. Additionally, the former quarterback earns his sportscaster’s salary by hosting his own sports radio show on Sporting News Radio.
Honorable Mention #4: Cris Collinsworth – $4 million
After retiring from eight seasons in the NFL, Cris Collins didn’t go far from working in football. Initially, the former wide-receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, appeared as a guest host on Cincinnati station WLW for fellow Bengals alumnus Bob Trumpy, but soon became the full-time host after Trumpy moved on.
Since then, Collinsworth has been a color commentator and reporter on Fox, HBO, and at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Currently, the former NFL player is a sportscaster for NBC, Showtime, and the NFL Network and has been honored with a grand total of 15 Sports Emmy Awards throughout the course of his career.
Honorable Mention #5: Chris Fowler – $1.5 million
Chris Fowler is a long-time veteran host in the sports broadcasting world, having hosted ESPN’s College GameDay between 1990 and 2014. As a testament to his ability as a sportscaster, during Fowler’s tenure on the show, College GameDay won four Emmys for Best Weekly Studio Show in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2014.
Since retiring from College GameDay, Fowler remained working for ESPN at college football, soccer and Grand Slam tennis games. Today, this experienced and versatile sportscaster’s primary job is his role as a play-by-play commentator for ABC’s Saturday Night Football, where he works alongside his former colleague from College GameDay, Kirk Herbstreit.
Honorable Mention #6: Marv Albert – $2 million
Known popularly as “the voice of basketball,” Marv Albert began his career in broadcasting in 1962, and his more recent induction into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame has made him a popular and recognizable figure in both college and professional basketball.
While Marv Albert is currently the lead announcer for NBA games on TNT he has much more experience than just sportscasting basketball. Albert has also announced American football, ice hockey, horse racing, boxing, and tennis. It’s no wonder then that after all this time, and with so much experience, that Albert is being paid such a quality sportscaster’s salary.
Honorable Mention #7: Johnny Weir – $2 million
Johnny Weir is much more than just an award-winning figure skater. Since retiring in 2013, Weir has become a writer, musician, philanthropist, activist, fashion designer and sportscaster. His reappearance on television was celebrated in the figure skating world since, according to the Phillymag, Weir was the “bad boy” of figure skating who brought “flash to a snoozy sport.”
After appearing on numerous talk shows during the 2010 Winter Olympics, the former “bad boy of the figure skating world” was given a full time hosting position at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. This hardworking host has since commentated at the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, and the Rio Olympics.
Honorable Mention #8: Kirk Herbstreit – $250,000 – $450,000
Kirk Herbstreit’s time in sports began after being voted the Gatorade Player of the Year during his senior year in high school. From there his experiences as a successful college quarterback at Ohio State University would likely influence his future career choice. During his tenure at Ohio, the college quarterback was a four-year letter winner and was voted team MVP.
After graduating in the early 90’s Herbstreit began to focus his career on sports broadcasting. Currently, he works as a co-host on ESPN’s College GameDay while also commentating college football for ABC. Herbstreit also puts his professional knowledge to paper, where he often contributes as a writer to ESPN.com as well as for ESPN The Magazine.
Honorable Mention #9: Grant Hill – $2 million
Grant Hill didn’t wait too long before displaying his talent in basketball. While at Duke he was the 1994 Player of the Year and a two time NCAA Champion and All-American. Hill was then a first round draft pick for the Detroit Pistons and his 19 year career included playing for them, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Clippers.
After retiring from 19 season of NBA basketball, Hill was hired by NBA TV to become an analyst for their network. According to Yahoo! Sports, “Grant Hill went from having ‘no clue’ about broadcasting to calling the Final Four.” Maybe this proves that talent might be transferable after all.
Honorable Mention #10: Gary Neville – $2 million
The English native has not only worked as a sports broadcaster, Gary Neville actually began as a player for Manchester United, where he was in the position of right defense from 1991-2011. After Gary Neville left the field (or pitch, if you’re from Britain) he began to work both as a sportscaster and coach.
In 2011, Neville took up a position at Sky Sports, taking only a one year hiatus from 2015-2016 in order to coach the Spanish soccer club, Valencia. According to The Guardian, Neville is one of the most well researched and neutral analysis. In addition to his job at Sky Sports, Neville is also a columnist for The Daily Telegraph.
This article was originally published on DirectExpose: Famous Sportscasters’ Salaries: How Much Do They Really Earn?
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