For students in a degree program in sports broadcasting, there are many opportunities to gain practical experience. Students will learn about television production, speech, editing, news writing and sports culture, and they may also practice announcing at campus sporting events or hosting sports discussion shows.
A high school education is standard for admission, and related experience could be beneficial. Graduates of 2-year associate's and 4-year bachelor's degree programs in sports broadcasting might seek employment as sports reporters, commentators, writers, announcers and more.
Associate's Degree in Sports Announcing or Broadcasting
Students learn the fundamentals of broadcasting through hands-on courses in radio and television production and apply these skills through co-curricular positions and internships with campus broadcast media outlets. Additionally, students acquire news writing and reporting skills, and perfect their public speaking and diction so they may serve as on-air talent.
In programs specifically designed for prospective sports broadcasters, students may take classes in commentary for specific sports and often call the play-by-play for campus sporting events, host radio shows or produce sports discussion shows for campus television. These associate's programs introduce students to mass media and communications theories, and also focus on technical production skills and the creation of media content. Courses may include:
- Television and video production
- Radio and studio production
- Broadcast announcing
- Sports announcing and commentary
- News writing
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Bachelor's Degree in Sports Communication
Students pursuing bachelor's degrees in sports communication study the full spectrum of communications activities as they relate to the sports industry, including broadcasting, journalism, public relations, media management and marketing. Courses in sports communication and rhetoric accompany those in journalism, photography, audio and video production, mass media and writing. Students gain skills in post-production, Web and multimedia graphics, animation and nonlinear editing. These programs also provide real-world experience through on-campus radio, television and newspaper positions, as well as internships with regional and national media outlets, sports teams or other professional organizations. Coursework may include:
- Sports writing and reporting
- Public relations
- Speech communication
- Business communication
- Sports rhetoric
- Sports in society and culture
Popular Career Options
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate's degree prepares individuals for entry-level and technical positions in broadcasting, usually in smaller markets and cities (www.bls.gov). The BLS said that broadcasting is a competitive industry, especially for on-air talent occupations and for positions in large cities. Additionally, the BLS noted that many broadcast media employers expect applicants to hold bachelor's degrees and have technical production experience. Education and training in sports broadcasting may lead to the following career options:
- Sports commentator
- Radio show host
- Broadcast announcer
- Sports reporter
- Sports director
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Overall, the BLS estimated slow job growth in the broadcasting industry for the 2014-2024 decade, which is attributed to changes in media options, technological advances and consolidation of broadcast media outlets. Unfortunately, the BLS predicted a 14% decline in employment for radio and television announcers and a 9% employment decline for broadcast news analysts, reporters and correspondents from 2014 to 2024. Prospective sports broadcasters, announcers and reporters can enhance their employment opportunities by honing both production and on-air skills, seeking initial employment at small stations and pursuing internship opportunities to gain additional work experience, the BLS noted.
The BLS reports that median yearly wages for radio and television announcers vary greatly by employer. As of 2015, announcers employed by radio and television broadcasting companies earned an average salary of $44,260 per year, while those employed by colleges, universities and professional schools earned average yearly wages of $49,090, the BLS reported. The highest average salaries listed by the BLS went to promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events, who commanded average annual earnings of $85,790.
Similar salary variations were reported in BLS figures for other broadcast media and journalism careers. Reporters and correspondents for newspapers and publishers earned mean wages of $40,860 per year, while those employed by radio and television broadcasting companies had yearly average salaries of $51,430, the BLS said. The BLS said broadcast news analysts working for radio and television outlets earned an average of $91,900 per year in 2015.
Continuing Education Information
For bachelor's degree holders interested in obtaining additional education, a master's degree in broadcasting, journalism or another media field could be an acceptable option. Though rare, some schools have begun to develop or offer master's degree programs with a sports broadcasting or journalism emphasis, which may indicate a future academic trend.
Prospective sports broadcasting professionals can complete associate's or bachelor's degree programs to gain hands-on experience and improve their communications skills. However, employment opportunities in the announcing and broadcast reporting fields were expected to decline sharply over the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS.