Sports Writing Careers: Job Description and Requirements

Sep 23, 2019

A career in sports writing requires little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Sports writers can prepare for their career by completing a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field, such as creative writing. Employers prefer applicants with experience, so volunteering for a publication or website can help improve employment opportunities.

Essential Information

A career in sports writing includes researching and writing articles on athletic events as a freelancer or as an employee of a website, newspaper or television show. While a degree isn't necessarily a job requirement, employers frequently show a preference for employees with significant writing experience and a bachelor's degree in communications, writing or journalism. Sports writing is the perfect career for somebody looking to demonstrate their love of both sports and writing in a professional setting.

Required Education Bachelor's degrees in journalism or creative writing
Other Requirements Employers prefer extensive experience in writing
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 0% for writers and authors
Median Annual Salary (May 2018)* $62,170 for writers and authors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sports Writer Job Description

Sports writers are journalists who specialize in delivering articles on athletic events. They may work for a syndicated publishing agency or as freelancers. Syndicated writers sometimes have predetermined subjects and may have strict deadlines to meet. Moreover, syndicated sports writers may have their work shown in an online blog, a newspaper or a television show. In contrast, freelance writers are sometimes given more flexibility when it comes to subject matter and article deadlines. Some sports writers work closely with a team and may have special access to players and coaches. Other times, sports writers may write while at the sporting event itself.

In general, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment opportunities for writers are expected to show little or no change over the 2018-2028 decade, with a reduction of 100 jobs over that time frame. In 2018, data from the BLS indicated the average mean salary for writers working for newspapers, periodical, book, and directory publishers was $59,290, and independent writers earned $104,450 that year.

Sports Writing Requirements

There are varied requirements for a sports writer. Generally, writers must be enthusiastic about the sport or event they are discussing. Sports writers must be able to bring together events in a manner that allows readers to quickly understand what happened during an entire sporting event. Secondly, writers must be creative and bring original entertaining content to the article's audience.

Entry-level Sports Writing Requirements

Competition for sports writer positions is very keen. Paying full-time jobs may require extensive experience and a bachelor's degree. Sports writers may use blogs, entry-level online work or volunteer positions to gain experience in order to build their portfolio.

Some entry-level freelance jobs only require writing experience and Internet familiarity. Additionally, some positions may involve writing for local media sources, requiring a sports writer to live in the vicinity. While employers advertising entry-level positions may not require a bachelor's degree in a writing major, prospective writers with a degree may have an advantage over other non-degreed candidates.

Full time Career Sports Writing Requirements

Employers advertising an advance sports writing position may only interview candidates with at least five years of writing experience. Additionally, advanced position writers might need to have a bachelor's degree in a relevant area, such as business journalism or creative writing. Career sports writers working as journalists for a media outlet like a television station may need additional training, such as television reporting experience, in addition to the general prerequisites.

Sports writers attend or watch sporting events, conduct research, and write articles related to the events, players, or other sports-related topics. They should love sports and have a fair bit of knowledge about sports as well as a strong writing background.

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