While some may not always notice them, many others believe that broadcasters can make or break a live sporting event. Opinions on who is the best among them change frequently based on the sport being watched and, oftentimes, how well or poorly a team is playing on a given day. As sports broadcasting tastes can vary widely, we wanted to take a closer look at the topic and find out how these preferences change regionally. Read on to find out who the most popular sportscaster in your state is!
It’s important to note that we only looked at live, national sports broadcasters from major networks, not local announcers or reporters whose roles can change annually, so our data reflects the sportscasting landscape at the time of data collection.
The Most Popular Sportscaster in Every U.S. State
Watching a live game while listening to a play-by-play commentator may alter your outlook of the entire game; it may even determine which sports network you watch! ESPN sportscasters seem to be preferred across the United States and are searched most often in 21 states. The second most popular sports news center is FOX, which has the most popular sportscaster in 14 states. CBS follows closely with its sportscasters being the top-searched in 12 states. With the number of live broadcasting rights ESPN has, it should come as no surprise that their in-game broadcasting talent is so widely popular.
Another trend we noticed is that some states also favor sportscasters that have a connection to their community. In Texas, for example, Troy Aikman is the most popular sportscaster. The former Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback led the NFL team to three Super Bowl victories in the ’90s and is one of the star-studded franchise’s most recognizable names. Doris Burke, an NBA announcer for ESPN, was a women’s college basketball star at Providence College and is the top-searched sportscaster in Rhode Island. Kevin Harlen is the most popular sportscaster in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has previously covered the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA. Other regional ties include Gus Johnson, a Detroit native, being the most popular sportscaster in Michigan; Greg Olsen, a former Carolina Panthers tight end, being the top-searched in North Carolina; and Mark Schlereth, a former offensive lineman for the Denver Broncos, being the favorite in Colorado.
The Most Popular Sportscaster Overall
Jim Nantz is among the most recognizable voices to sports fans across the U.S., so it should come as no surprise that he is the most popular sportscaster overall, being the top-searched in seven states. He is arguably most famous for being the voice of The Masters, an event he has covered since 1989. He also lends his voice to CBS’s NFL and NCAA men’s basketball coverage as their lead play-by-play announcer and has been a broadcaster for a host of other events, from NBA games to the Olympics.
The second most popular sports broadcaster is Steve Levy, known for his commentary on college football, Monday Night Football, and for the NHL. Levy is the most popular sportscaster in five states, including the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, his home state of New York, and Washington.
There is a four-way tie in third place for the most popular sports broadcaster. Louis Riddick, Jonathan Vilma, Greg Olsen, and Doris Burke were all the most popular sportscaster in three states. Both Burke and Riddick are ESPN sportscasters, with Burke covering the NBA and Riddick covering the NFL. Vilma and Olsen are FOX sportscasters, both providing color commentary for NFL games.
To find the most popular sportscaster in every state, we collected 34 of the most popular national play-by-play announcers and color commentators using lists from websites like USA Today, Franchise Sports, and Morning Consult. We then analyzed Google search data from May 2021 to May 2022 to see which states searched for each broadcaster the most over the last 12 months.
At Shane Co., we know that sports fans tend to wear their hearts on their sleeve when it comes to their fandom. And while they can be vocal about their distaste for opposing teams, referees, or sportscasters, they can also be very passionate about the things they love. If you’re a sports fan who has finally found someone that gets just as mad as you do when Jim Nantz describes a play where your team isn’t playing well, then check out our collection of engagement rings when you’re ready to take the next step.