5) Jesse Palmer, ESPN
Palmer is still one of the most recognizable faces in the sea of ESPN college football analysts, and that became doubly so this year, with him moving to be the lead commentator on SEC Network games (with Brent Musburger) while retaining his Thursday Night College Football role. Palmer’s analysis isn’t always insightful, but it’s distinctive, and his bosses certainly appear to believe in him. Leaving the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes for a broadcasting career appears to have worked out for the former Bachelor; he’s now in his eighth year of broadcasting, and it seems to be a path that’s working out for him, even if some critics would dissent.
4 & 3) Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, Fox Sports 1
These guys arguably play a more significant role at their network than anyone else on this list, thanks to their hiring (and all the publicity that surrounded it) as the faces of Fox Sports 1 and their work anchoring the Fox Sports Live highlights show, plus doing their popular podcast and more. They’re only not higher here thanks to Fox Sports 1’s own struggles. The viewership numbers haven’t been what Fox would have liked, but much of that’s the challenges of a new channel trying to take on ESPN’s well-established Sportscenter brand. Jay and Dan have largely translated the comedic-yet-insightful style that made them stars in Canada. Fox Sports Live itself is still far from perfect, but the Canuck anchor duo has been one of its high points, and that keeps them near the top of the list of Canadians in U.S. media.
2) John Saunders, ESPN/ABC
Saunders is one of the longest-tenured ESPN guys left, joining the network in 1986 and working there ever since. He’s most known currently for his role hosting The Sports Reporters and serving as the main studio host for ABC’s college football coverage, but he’s proven versatile as well, hosting NHL coverage for over a decade when the Worldwide Leader had those rights, serving as a play-by-play man for the NBA, and hosting ABC baseball broadcasts.
1) Dan Shulman, ESPN
Shulman has excelled as the lead announcer for ESPN’s MLB and college basketball coverage. He’s the only Canadian to ever win the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association’s Sportscaster of the Year (in 2011), and he has what’s arguably the most prominent role out of any Canadian broadcaster in the U.S. It’s well deserved as he’s grown into becoming one of the best play by play men in sports over the last several years.
Honourable mentions: Bob McKenzie, Chris Cuthbert, Darren Pang, Chris Jones: McKenzie and Cuthbert aren’t working in the U.S. full-time, but the two TSN personalities are becoming an important part of NBC’s hockey coverage. McKenzie, one of the best hockey reporters out there, has been featured regularly on NBC’s studio shows, and renowned announcer Cuthbert is calling some games for the network. Pang has been known for a wide variety of national hockey contributions in the past, and now provides those to Fox Sports One in addition to his work on Blues’ regional telecasts. In addition to his work at Esquire, Jones has become an important part of ESPN The Magazine, and was their backpage columnist for a while.