Become a Sports Commentator: Education and Career Roadmap
Learn how to become a sports commentator. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in sports commentary.
Should I Become a Sports Commentator?
Sports commentators are employed by sports organizations and networks to cover the live action play-by-play of sporting events. A sports commentator may also have to recount sporting events for the news and perform interviews off the field. An understanding of various sports and athletes is crucial to being able to provide analysis of sporting events. This occupation can be stressful when deadlines hover nearby or scheduling becomes tight.
A bachelor's degree in broadcasting, communications or journalism is generally required for individuals interested in careers within this field. The following table contains the career requirements for becoming a sports commentator:
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Broadcasting, journalism, communications|
|Experience||On the job training is typically required|
|Key Skills||Speaking, writing, listening and interpersonal skills, research abilities, media production skills, appealing and well-groomed appearance, familiarity with editing software, broadcast equipment and telecommunications systems|
|Salary||$56,000 per year (Median salary from July 2, 2015 for all sportscasters and sports announcers)|
Sources: O*NET Online, Payscale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Acquire a Bachelor's Degree
Sports commentators have to know the various rules, history, teams and athletes involved with a sport. Developing a strong, clear and personable voice is also needed, since fans have to listen to a sports commentator for extended periods of time. The specializations available for a sports commentator include journalism, mass media, broadcasting or English. The curriculum for these programs is usually liberal arts-based, and one of the most useful courses an aspiring sports commentator can take is a class in television news and production.
- Complete an internship. Contacts gained through an internship are crucial to succeeding and gaining employment as a sports commentator. While in college, aspiring sports commentators can gain valuable experience by working with sports franchises, sports organizations, broadcasting companies and news outlets. Internships also allow students to practice and develop their skills by watching and working with professionals.
- Attain broadcasting practice. Experience is a key factor to being hired as a sports commentator. As an alternative to internships, students can contact their school's sports department and try to acquire a position commenting on athletic teams or covering college-sporting events.
Step 2: Obtain Employment
Personality and appearance play an important role in getting hired as a sports commentator because these professionals are in the public spotlight. According to the BLS, aspiring candidates may initially start out in entry-level positions at small stations before advancing to higher-level positions at larger stations. Hence, career advancement is often based on the willingness of sports commentators to continually relocate to larger markets.
- Create a social presence. The BLS recommends that once a candidate has obtained an entry-level position, he or she should participate in social networking on various Internet sites. In addition, aspiring sports commentators many want to consider participating in promotional media appearances to highlight the television or radio station where they work.
Step 3: Join a Professional Organization
Aspiring sports commentators may want to consider joining the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). These organizations offer various membership benefits including access to industry resources, tools, trends, conventions and other avenues for professional training and career advancement.