“SportsCenter is brought to you by. . .”
Fans often hear this phrase while watching SportsCenter. Some viewers likely wonder whose voice they are hearing and how it gets recorded. The term used for this kind of work is a “VO” or voice-over. A few people at ESPN are the voices behind these reads or “billboards.”
SportsCenter anchor Toni Collins and ESPN Radio anchor Christine Lisi are two of the people who handle voice-overs for SportsCenter. Collins can be heard on the 1 a.m. ET edition, in addition to ESPN NOW updates. She also recently voiced a character for Disney Channel’s Elena of Avalor animated series. Beyond her regular role on ESPN Radio, Lisi handles voiceovers for SportsCenter from 7 a.m.– 1 p.m.
Voice-overs are generally recorded once a week. They’re often promotional reads about companies or upcoming films that are working with ESPN. Collins and Lisi receive their scripts, and then they record 10 different VOs for SportsCenter at each reading. Collins records hers at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus while Lisi primarily records from her home.
Both relatively new to this role, Collins and Lisi have embraced the opportunity.
“A good voice-over person should sound as natural and conversational as you can,” says Lisi. “They should be able to do different tones, moods, and be flexible.”
Collins, who speaks both English and Spanish, added: “I like when I get to mix Spanish with English. An example was ‘SportsCenter is brought to you by Modelo Especial.’ I like that I get to pronounce the Spanish words right. I think it’s pretty cool.”