Meet award winning broadcast journalist, television personality, current anchor and courtside reporter for Tennis Channel – Cari Champion.
Champion has worked across the country covering network news, entertainment and sports stories of national interest for ABC, CBS, NBC, and other cable networks.
A native of Southern California, Champion graduated from UCLA and moved to Florida for her first reporting job.
While working in Florida, she covered the Williams sisters superstar status in tennis. And as a local news reporter Champion quickly created a name for herself which allowed her to cover more nationally televised events – from Floridaâ€™s hurricanes to the high profile â€˜dog fightingâ€™ case of former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick.
GVTN caught up with Champion to pose a few questions about her career and working at Tennis Channel.
GVTN: How did your career path take you to Tennis Channel?
Cari Champion: After graduating college I began working as a local reporter in a small market. As a local reporter, I would cover anything newsworthy from sports to entertainment. I worked in West Virginia, Florida and Atlanta. When I moved back to Los Angeles, my agent told me about a job at the Tennis Channel. It was a natural fit, they wanted a journalist who covered sports.Â The timing was right and I was excited about working for the channel.
GVTN: You’ve covered other sports and have worked in news, how does covering tennis compare? What are the unique challenges involved? What are perks?
CC: Tennis is very different from any other sport I have covered. The fans are experts—many have played or still play tennis—and they can quickly identify and outsider.Â Which means, as a journalist you must learn the sport and actively participate in the tennis community.Â I really enjoy that aspect of covering the sport. Basketball or football does not give you that intimate experience at all times. Traveling is the most challenging and the perk of covering the sport. Challenging because you need to learn or adapt to a new community or country quickly but itâ€™s also a perk, there are very few sports that my colleagues cover that will allow them to see the world.
GVTN: You’re in the studio doing Court Report and you seem to be always on the road, what have been your favorite tournaments, moments and /or events you’ve covered since joining Tennis Channel?
CC: To be honest, I enjoy working in the studio and sideline reporting. However, the French Open has been one of two highlights so far. During that Slam I was able to work with so many tennis legends and broadcast pioneers like Martina Navratilova, Lindsay Davenport and Bill Macatee.
In studio: interviewing Andre Agassi about his autobiography “Open” was not only a highlight at Tennis Channel but for my career. That interview changed my perspective on how I view him and the world of sports
GVTN: You are active on twitter. What role do you think twitter plays in the tennis world?
CC: Twitter makes it so much easier to get and receive information. I live on Twitter when Iâ€™m covering events or tournaments. Many times, a player or coach or reporter will update their twitter and Ill have the information right away. And while its necessary to always fact check before you run with ANYTHING, it helps in the fact gathering process.
Thatâ€™s invaluable when I need to interview someone or if I know I need to research the information that has been published on the site.
GVTN: What would you like people to know about you?
CC: Iâ€™m a die hard Los Angeles Lakers fan. I grew up in a Laker family and if I tried to like any other team in the league they would disown me.
I love tennis, I play it well enough but Iâ€™m also taking lessons—slow and steady will win the race.