Voiceover artist Cayman Kelly celebrated his third year on ESPN, renewing his ongoing contract before the start of the 2022 fall sports season. Widely recognized for his signature smooth and captivating voice, Cayman is an American voiceover mainstay with appearances in animations, video games, movies, television, album promos, concerts, commercials, and radio stations, which of course include – national sports radio. Kelly has been a Black voiceover icon for decades, uplifting and inspiring a wide range of new and established artists in radio, music, sports, television, and comedy.
“Working with ESPN has been a dream come true and I remain just as excited now as I did three years ago when I first became the national voice of ESPN AUDIO,” said Cayman Kelly. “Sports broadcasting is a purely American invention – as iconic as summer baseball games and apple pie. ESPN is American history in the making, so while I love the work I do, I’m also mindful of my important place on the airwaves. Our kids are listening too, and they need to know they can do absolutely anything they can dream of.”
ESPN – Serving Sports Fans. Anytime. Anywhere.
ESPN first began broadcasting in September 1979 with limited weekly airtime and 24-hour coverage on the weekends. Originally reaching more than one million cable households, ESPN’s first televised event was a slow-pitch softball game between the Milwaukee Schlitzes and the Kentucky Bourbons. Anheuser-Busch served as ESPN’s first sponsor, purchasing more than $1.4 million worth of advertising – a record for cable television at that time.
ESPN then began to broadcast NCAA college football games along with other sports. In March 1980, ESPN covered early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament featuring future NBA legends Larry Byrd and Earvin “Magic” Johnson. And in September 1980, ESPN began broadcasting on a full, 24-hour basis – adding new sports like boxing. ESPN later signed one of its first major contracts in 1989 with Major League Baseball, along with developing Extreme Games (X Games) competitions in 1994, including in-line skating, mountain biking, skateboarding, sky surfing, and street luge racing.
Purchased by the Walt Disney Company in 1995, ESPN developed a winning combination of Sunday Night Football and Major League Baseball playoff coverage that propelled the global sports network to number one in prime-time cable networks by 1999. ESPN coverage of the NFL games quickly became the top three rated cable sports shows in America. And though it has developed network competitors over the years, ESPN remains the original sports broadcasting titan – providing direct access to athletes and high-definition sporting events for millions of viewers and listeners across the world.
“Cayman brings an unmatched sound and primetime feel to everything he does,” said David Roberts, ESPN Senior Vice President of Production. “We are excited to work with Cayman and look forward to his advice differentiating the sound of ESPN Audio.”
For up-to-the-minute news on Kelly’s ESPN show announcements along with his other voice appearances, visit him online. And to learn more about his career journey, read the story of Cayman’s life in the #1 Bestselling Amazon memoir, “From $6 an Hour to a Million Dollar Dream.”