What Does IT Take to Be an NBA Broadcaster?

Explore the career requirements for NBA broadcasters. Get the facts about education requirements, salary, and job duties to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an NBA Broadcaster?

NBA broadcasters, also called announcers, present professional basketball games for listening and viewing audiences. In addition to live reporting, NBA broadcasters may also conduct interviews with athletes or game patrons. Prior to an on-air performance, NBA broadcasters are expected to do research particularly about the teams, their players and previous performances to provide accurate and concise reporting during the game.

See the table below for information about education requirements, job outlook, and salary for this career.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Communication, journalism, kinesiology or related field
Other Requirements Extensive knowledge of NBA rules and regulations as well as athlete profiles
Job Growth (2014-2024) -14%* (for all radio and television announcers)
Average Salary (May 2015) $82,730* (for all radio and television announcers of spectator sports)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Training Will I Need to Be an NBA Broadcaster?

In order to become a radio or television broadcaster for the National Basketball Association (NBA), you'll likely need at least a bachelor's degree in communication, kinesiology, journalism or a related field. Often these degree programs will offer a specific concentration in sports broadcasting and may include courses such as the fundamentals of electronic media, radio broadcasting basics, television broadcast presentation, announcing and live sports production. Excelling at broadcasting opportunities at the local, collegiate and semi-professional levels may help pave the way for opportunities in the NBA. You'll need to maintain an in-depth knowledge of the rules and nuances of the specific way NBA basketball is played and the way the league is structured.

Some former professional NBA basketball players seek to become broadcasters after their careers are over. Naturally, these candidates typically have a more expedient route to a career in broadcasting because of their high level of personal experience and often don't have a degree related to the field. They generally serve as analysts or color commentators who provide their perspective about in-game action.

What Will the Work Environment Be Like?

As an NBA broadcaster, you can expect a considerable amount of travel. If you're a broadcaster for a specific NBA team, you'll typically travel based on their schedule of home and away games. If you become a broadcaster for a national network, you'll likely travel at least once a week to cover a particular game (or games) of note.

To succeed as a broadcaster, you'll need to regularly hone your craft and be fully prepared for each game. You'll likely spend a great deal of time reviewing your previous broadcasts to discern areas that need improvement. Researching teams, stats and player information will also be a constant necessity. Ideally, you should know the name and brief biography of every player on each team for the game you're broadcasting.

How is This Different from Broadcasting Other Sports?

Basketball, particularly at the professional level, is one of the most fast-paced of all spectator sports. Unlike sports such as football and baseball, play only stops for timeouts, violations and intermissions once a game begins. As a broadcaster, you should remain ready and alert at all times, making sure that your play-by-play or analysis concisely describes the current plays and ensures no in-game action is missed.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As an aspiring NBA broadcaster, you may also explore being a reporter, correspondent or a broadcast news analyst, which is a good starting point to practice your researching and interviewing skills that are much needed as an NBA broadcaster. A reporter or correspondent presents news to the public to educate them about relevant issues. A broadcast news analyst, on the other hand, interprets news to enable the viewing public to better understand current issues.

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