How to Become a Sports Broadcaster in 5 Steps
Research what it takes to become sports broadcaster. Learn about education requirements and experience needed to find out if this is the career for you.
What Does a Sports Broadcaster Do?
As a sports broadcaster, you will cover and report on sporting events such as football, baseball, basketball, and others, often giving commentary and broadcasting to a local, national or even international audience. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential, as sports broadcasters will frequently be speaking to a live audience and be required to carry out interviews with athletes. Sports broadcasters need to be interested in sports and familiar with team members in order to give an informed and coherent commentary. Depending on the context, sports broadcasters may also be required to operate broadcasting equipment commonly used in television and radio studios.
The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Sports broadcasting; journalism; sports entertainment; public speaking|
|Key Responsibilities||Studio reporting; play-by-play announcing|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||-7% for all radio and television announcers*|
|Median Annual Salary (2018)||$33,220 for all radio and television announcers*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is a Sports Broadcaster?
Sports broadcasters are on-air personalities who focus on sporting events, from football to baseball. They may work in a studio - where they report on all the different games throughout the day - or work as an announcer and cover a particular game doing play-by-play announcing. They may work for television, radio and online networks.
Step 1: Research Sports Broadcaster Career Duties and Education
Sports broadcasting may relate to a number of careers in radio and television, such as sports reporter or anchor, talk show host, play-by-play announcer or color commentator. Sports broadcasters must be knowledgeable about the rules, terminology, and history associated with a variety of sports and prepared to ad-lib, as much of their work is presented live. Sports broadcasters work long hours, often providing coverage before, during and after a sporting event. They're frequently required to travel to game sites. In this highly competitive field, station managers typically give preference to sports broadcaster candidates with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from a 4-year institution.
Step 2: Start Your Education as a Sports Broadcaster in High School
Prospective sports broadcasters can strengthen writing and speaking skills by working with a high school newspaper, television station or radio station and familiarizing themselves with sports terminology; this may also involve listening to professional sports broadcasters. Young adults may be able to practice calling the action at youth sporting events at school or in the community. Courses in computers, foreign languages, public speaking, and English are related to this career. Getting involved with sports can also help at an early age.
Step 3: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
Obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Mass Communication or Broadcasting, preferably with a concentration in broadcast journalism or sports communication. In addition to developing reporting skills, sports broadcasting students study ethics, sports business, sports entertainment and the social role of athletics. Consider attending broadcasting school either at a private or technical school or at a college to get formal training in emerging technologies.
Step 4: Gain Experience While Building a Demo Tape
Colleges and universities offer similar sports involvement opportunities to those available at high schools. However, colleges may also have their own television or radio station or be able to help students gain internships with local media companies. Postsecondary students may wish to produce a demo tape of audio and video clips; they may wish to have an advisor or professional sports broadcaster critique it.
Other experiential opportunities involve volunteering to call varsity games or taking a work-study job with the university's sports information office. Newspapers or online outlets may avail opportunities for aspiring broadcasters to interview college players before and after the game.
Step 5: Be Willing to Start at the Bottom
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) projects that job opportunities for radio and television announcers will decline seven percent from 2018-2028, making an already competitive field even more so. The best entry-level positions are expected to be at small radio stations. A good source for information is the American Sportscasters Association's website, which offers advice from sports broadcasters as well as a job bank.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
If you enjoy communicating information to a live audience, then you may want to consider becoming a news broadcaster as opposed to a specifically sports-oriented broadcaster. These professionals perform many of the same duties as sports broadcasters, but research and report on a far broader spectrum of issues. Journalists also provide information and commentary on current events but may work in written mediums such as magazines or online blogs as opposed to telecommunications. Both journalists and news broadcasters can gain the requisite skills for their professions through journalism and other media-related bachelor's degree programs.