Chiney Ogwumike, the 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year, All-Star and former first overall pick in the WNBA draft, has joined ESPN as the co-host of SportsCenter across sub-Saharan Africa. Ogwumike, who earlier this year signed a multi-year extension with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, will co-host the African edition of SportsCenter.
Ogwumike joins co-host Phil Murphy on SportsCenter in Africa, bringing sports fans across 19 sub-Saharan nations a nightly look at the latest in International and American sports news, highlights and updates in the program’s signature fast-paced format. The daily edition of the iconic program is produced for the ESPN channel on the Kwesé television platform as part of a long-term multimedia collaboration between Econet Media and ESPN and also provides video segments on the co-branded KweseESPN website and app across Africa.
“I am thrilled to be joining ESPN to host this unique edition of SportsCenter dedicated to sports fans across Africa,” said Ogwumike. “This is a wonderful opportunity to combine who I am and what I am passionate about. As a Nigerian-American professional women’s basketball player, and now SportsCenter co-host, I want to inspire and empower rising generations across Africa and the US to pursue their dreams.”
Charly Classen, Vice President and General Manager, ESPN EMEA, said of Ogwumike’s new role, “We are incredibly excited to add somebody as talented, knowledgeable and passionate as Chiney join the African edition of SportsCenter. She brings a remarkable combination of deep, first-hand understanding of sport and a longtime connection to Africa. Sports fans in Africa can expect that she and Phil will deliver a dynamic, fun and fast-paced show.”
Ogwumike, who has already contributed to ESPN in recent weeks, is of Nigerian-American descent. Both of her parents immigrated to the United States from Nigeria, settling in the greater Houston, TX area. Raised there, Ogwumike and all three of her sisters earned scholarships to play college basketball. She and older sister Nneka played at Stanford before both going on to the WNBA, where the two made history as the first siblings to go #1 overall in a professional sports draft since the Manning brothers. Chiney was the top overall draft pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft, a WNBA All-Star and the 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year. Sister Nneka went on to be named the 2016 WNBA MVP and lead the Los Angeles Sparks to the 2016 WNBA Championship. Sisters Erica and Oliva play basketball for the Rice University Owls.
Ogwumike has traveled regularly to Africa since childhood, visiting family, studying and promoting basketball, education and youth empowerment. While a student athlete at Stanford, she majored in International Relations and studied abroad in Abuja, Nigeria, interning with the Nigerian government.
Last year, Econet Media’s Kwesé Sports and ESPN announced a long-term multimedia collaboration across Africa, including the launch in March of an ESPN channel exclusively on the Kwesé TV platform and the launch of a co-branded KweseESPN website and app in May – where video plays a growing role in multimedia coverage of an array of sports including Football, Basketball, Cricket, Rugby, Boxing, MMA, Motorsports including F1, Indy500, Athletics, Tennis, the best in American sports such as the NFL, MLB, NHL and much more – all with a uniquely African perspective.
The collaboration marked ESPN’s return to television in Africa and brings together Africa’s emerging home of premium sports with the world’s leading sports media brand.