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Sports Broadcaster: Job Profile and Occupational Outlook

Sports broadcasters are required to have some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and experience required to see if this is the right career for you.

Students wishing to become sports broadcasters should consider earning an undergraduate degree in communications or pursuing courses specific to sports broadcasting and radio. Jobs in this field are expected to decline over the next few years. Factors that can help an aspiring broadcaster get started are a knowledge of sports, a pleasant voice and, for television, a suitable appearance.

Essential Information

Sports broadcasters are responsible for preparing, writing and presenting sports coverage and analysis in a radio or television medium. Since this occupation is expected to decline over the next several years, its competitive nature necessitates significant training, including an undergraduate degree and broadcasting experience.

Required Education Bachelor's typically necessary
Other Requirements Experience often preferred
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -14% for all radio and television announcers
Mean Salary (2015)* $82,730 for radio and television announcers in spectator sports

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Profile

The broadcasting industry is composed of an extremely wide range of occupations, from management to production and technical work. However, sports broadcasting is generally associated with reporting, commentary and analysis, often in an on-air or writing role. Sometimes known as sportscasters, individuals in these positions are frequently asked to research and select their content, write articles or scripts, and present their information on the air. Some sportscasters work in an announcer role, giving play-by-play opinion and analysis while the sport is being broadcast.

Career and Education Requirements

Sports broadcasters are almost always required to have a bachelor's degree, usually in a related field such as communications or journalism. Some colleges offer specific majors in sports broadcasting, which are ideal for this career. Among other things, students must learn both sports history and broadcasting history, along with subjects like station operations, sports production and media marketing.

Of course, regardless of a student's postsecondary major, sportscasters must have a thorough knowledge of their subject and be able to perform credible and relevant analysis. Broadcasting experience is extremely important in pursuing this career; many colleges offer students the opportunity to hone their skills in this area before entering the professional world. Aspiring sports broadcasters also need to consider the basic qualifications for careers in radio or television; announcers, for example, must have suitable speaking voices, while television broadcasters are expected to maintain a certain standard of appearance.

Job Outlook

Sports broadcasting is a sought-after career with a great deal of competition for on-air and writing positions. As such, those seeking jobs in this field should try to become as undeniably qualified as possible through degree programs, internships and other forms of experience. Employment for broadcast news analysts is expected to decrease 13% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the same time period, the number of employed radio and television announcers is expected to decline 14%.

Salary

In May 2015, the BLS listed the annual average salary for radio and television announcers at $46,410. The spectator sports industry, however, was one of the top-paying markets for announcers at that time, offering an average annual salary of $82,730. The average salary for broadcast news analysts in 2015 was $89,240, per the BLS.

Sports broadcasting is about commenting and providing analysis on sports through research, writing, and on-air presentation. It is an extremely competitive field with dwindling number of jobs. Sport experience, a bachelor's degree in communication or journalism, along with radio or television broadcasting experience can help a sports broadcaster get an edge on the competition.

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