Sports Writer: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for sports writers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, salary, and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does A Sports Writer Do?

Sports writers report on all news that occurs in the sports world, providing content for newspapers, magazines and online platforms. Sports writers need to have a good understanding of sports as a source of entertainment and the ability to cover games and competitions accurately. These writers need to be very knowledgeable in their preferred area of sports entertainment in order to provide an effective analysis.

Aside from their technical knowledge of sports, sports writers need to have strong communication skills and understand how to write in both an engaging and informative manner. They may work exclusively for one media outlet or provide sports analysis and writing services for a number of different purposes. The table below outlines the general requirements for becoming a sports writer.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree
Educational Field of StudyEnglish
Journalism
Communications
Key ResponsibilitiesConducting interviews; covering various sporting events; researching specific topics
Job Growth (2014-2024)-8% (decline) for reporters and correspondents*
Average Salary (May 2015)$46,560 for reporters and correspondents*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Training and Experience Do I Need to Be a Sports Writer?

In order to become a sports writer, you need to possess excellent written communication skills and a strong array of sports knowledge. Bachelor's degrees in English, journalism or communications are generally ideal; however, some successful sports writers receive training in other sports fields. You can obtain additional training and experience by contributing to local high school, college or community sports sections in newspapers or magazines. Constantly writing new articles and increasing your variety of experience will help prepare you for future opportunities.

In addition to a solid foundation in competition coverage and analysis, successful sports writers often have an aptitude for understanding sports as entertainment, as well as the influence of sports on society and ethical issues within the world of sports. As with all writing careers, you must connect with your audience to increase your exposure and success.

The Internet and blogging can also be a useful outlet for sports writers. Depending on your ability to generate an audience and offer an original perspective, a successful blog could help propel your career more quickly into mainstream recognition.

Where Will I Work?

The daily routine and environment for sports writers varies based upon the specific job. You may work in a large, busy atmosphere filled with other writers constantly typing and discussing as they seek to meet deadlines. Your work may also be done on a freelance basis from an individual office or from home with appropriate computer technology and resources.

Sports writing may often involve travel and long hours. Depending on the nature of the position, you may be called upon to cover various sporting events or conduct interviews across great distances and within the time availability of athletes or coaches. Additionally, you must have a high level of self-motivation and creative output in order to reach deadlines and generate compelling material.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

Income for sports writers varies greatly because of the wide range of opportunities and independent work available. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the bottom ten percent of reporters and correspondents earned about $21,390 annually, and the top ten percent earned over $81,580 as of May 2015, with an average salary of $46,560 (www.bls.gov). Sports writing is an increasingly competitive field due to the growing use of the Internet and digital media. Your ability to set your writing apart based on your insights and unique views can enable greater recognition and income, according to the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you have earned an undergraduate degree in journalism, English, communications or another writing-related degree, there are many career paths open to you aside from becoming a sports journalist. You may want to work in the world of sports entertainment as an announcer or commentator, providing commentary and analysis to a live audience while a game is being broadcast on television or the radio.

You could also become a broadcast journalist, researching and reporting on current news and events for broadcast news organizations. Broadcast journalists who have gained some experience and expertise in the field also have the option of becoming broadcast news analysts. These professionals provide insight and opinions on current affairs, often specializing in a specific area, such as politics or economics.

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