Chris Fowler, who has progressed at ESPN over a quarter century to be one of the most respected hosts and play-by-play commentators in television, appears on many of ESPN’s marquee properties, primarily in college football, Grand Slam tennis and FIFA World Cup soccer. Over the years, he has also hosted SportsCenter, SportsCentury, horse racing’s Triple Crown races, men’s college basketball including on-site Final Four coverage and the first few editions of the X Games and Winter X Games. Fowler joined ESPN in July 1986 as the first host/reporter of Scholastic Sports America for two years.
Since 1990, Fowler has anchored College GameDay, the network’s Emmy-winning Saturday morning college football preview show. Airing from the site of a major game each week, the show has become a phenomenon among students on campus and the pregame show of record for the sport. It won the Sports Emmy for Best Weekly Studio Show in 2008, 2010 and 2011. He also has hosted ESPN’s Heisman Trophy Presentation since the network began its coverage of the event in 1994 and ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards show since its inception in 1993. In addition, he was the play-by-play voice of ESPN’s Thursday College Football Primetime games from 2006-2009 and previously had been a sideline reporter, beginning in 1988.
For 13 years, Fowler hosted ESPN’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four coverage (1992-2005) and was a host on select editions of the inaugural season of the college basketball version of College GameDay in 2005.
Since 2003, Fowler has been the primary host of ESPN’s Grand Slam tennis coverage, which starting with the addition of the US Open in 2009, included all four majors, something no network had done before. Over the years, he increasingly has called matches at those events and other tournaments, including the finals of the Australian Open and, starting in 2012, Wimbledon.
In 2010, Fowler served as a host for ESPN’s month-long, on-site studio coverage of the FIFA World Cup from South Africa, where he anchored pre-, halftime and post-match shows, along with SportsCenter, for the FIFA World Cup segments.
From 1998-2007, Fowler added horse racing to his resume, serving as an on-site host for ESPN & ESPN2’s extensive Triple Crown coverage (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes). He served as the host of SportsCenter’s on-site coverage of top auto racing events, including the Daytona 500 in 2006 and ‘07. In the past, Fowler anchored SportsCenter and served as co-host of the X Games from its inception in 1995-2000, as well as the Winter X Games (1998-2000). He also served as host and narrator of the SportsCentury.
Fowler is most recognized for his work as one of the nation’s best studio hosts for college sports, particularly for his role as the anchor for College GameDay – college football’s most comprehensive and authoritative studio show. In January 2004, Sporting News magazine ranked Fowler and fellow GameDay personalities Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit as 2003’s “Most Powerful Media Personalities in Sports.” Fowler has received two Sports Emmy Awards for his work on SportsCentury.
Before joining ESPN, Fowler spent nearly two years at KCNC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Denver, as a production assistant, producer/writer and sports reporter. In 1984, he worked for several months atDenver’s CBS affiliate KMGH-TV as an intern in the sports department.
Fowler received a bachelor of science degree in radio/television news from the University of Colorado in 1985. While an undergraduate, Fowler, a Denver-area native, served from 1983-85 as a producer and co-host for a weekly magazine program on the Boulder(Colo.) Cable Television System. He also was sports director at KAIR-AM, the university’s radio station, for two years. From 1982-84, he covered high school sports for the Rocky Mountain News.
Revisit ESPNU's first minutes on the air from this March 4, 2005 telecast from Stillwater, Okla.
ESPN AND YOU
"THAT HAS FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED THE WAY I WATCH ESPN, BECAUSE YOU CAN'T REALLY HAVE ESPN ON IN THE OFFICE - IT'S KIND OF FROWNED ON IN THE MORNING."
- White House Assistant to the President & Senior Advisor/Strategy & Communications Dan Pfeiffer, on Snapchat's new Discover feature. (POLITICO.com, March 2)