A career in sports doesn’t necessarily need to involve being an athlete. If you’ve never played on a team before, that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t get a job in this field. The sports industry offers numerous career opportunities to anyone with sufficient passion and drive. It’s also growing, meaning more opportunities are going to arise in the near future. There’s arguably never been a better time to pursue a career in sports.
Of course, if you’re interested in sports, the odds are good you understand certain sports particularly well. The odds are also good that this is a topic you like to talk about whenever you get the opportunity. If that’s the case, you may want to become a sports broadcaster. This role would give you the chance to regularly demonstrate your expertise while talking about a sport you love.
Becoming a Sports Broadcaster
It’s important to understand that there are many different paths you can take to become a sports commentator. However, it’s always crucial that you can demonstrate a thorough understanding of sports if you want to pursue this career. After all, it’s not uncommon for sports broadcasters to be former players themselves. Because of this, those who have never been professional athletes need to distinguish themselves in other capacities.
One way to do so is to get a relevant degree. While you may be asking what colleges offer sports broadcasting programs, in many cases, getting a degree in sports management from a relevant program might be enough to prove you’re dedicated to a career in the sports industry. That being said, this should primarily be a supplement to your college education. Although it’s not technically a requirement, candidates with at least a Bachelor’s degree tend to be preferred when employers fill sports broadcaster positions.
Employers also look for candidates with specific essential skills. If your job involves commenting on a live game, you need to behave confidently and professionally on air. That’s why it’s not uncommon for sports commentators to have studied communications, media, journalism, or related fields in college. Preparing to be a broadcaster in general, and getting a certificate in sports management to expand your industry knowledge, will likely help if you want to know how to become a sports announcer.
Additionally, you shouldn’t expect to be hired as an announcer immediately, as it is the type of career that requires you to “work your way up.”
You can give yourself a head start by getting a sports internship. Even if you have the proper degree, experience, and knowledge, there tends to be substantial competition for sports industry jobs. A potential employer might not hire you even if you’re qualified for a position. Quite simply, another qualified candidate may earn it first. However, if you get an internship, you can network with professionals in the field. Doing so boosts your odds of getting a relevant job and eventually becoming a sports commentator.
Who your employer would be if you became a sports announcer can vary. Sometimes sports commentators work for TV networks. In other instances, they may work for individual teams – a point worth keeping in mind when you begin to apply to positions. Some people like the idea of providing exclusive commentary for one team, while others prefer having a variety. Consider what’s more appealing to you when pursuing jobs.
Becoming a Sports Commentator: How Much Can I Expect to Earn?
While you may now have a better understanding of how to become a sports commentator, you might still have some questions.
You need to keep your financial goals in mind when deciding what type of career you want to pursue in the sports industry. Knowing how much you might earn as a sports announcer may be just as important to you as knowing how to become one in the first place.
This will also vary on a case-by-case basis. Numerous factors impact the earning potential of sports announcers. An announcer for a small local league or team will probably earn less than an announcer for a major sports network.
Finding relevant data regarding the average salaries of sports commentators isn’t necessarily easy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide information specifically related to sports commentator earnings. However, it does list the annual salary for general radio and television broadcasting professionals as $49,480. It also indicates that professionals in the spectator sports industry earn $106,550 a year on average.
There are, of course, instances when sports announcers earn dramatically more than that. Many of the familiar faces you likely see and hear commenting on the game when you’re watching sports can make millions of dollars a year. However, that is uncommon, and many of these broadcasters typically have major experience in the industry by the time they earn that salary, whether on the field, off, or both.
That isn’t meant to deter you from pursuing your career goals. On the contrary, if you’re interested in becoming a sports commentator, you should attempt to realize your dream. You shouldn’t pursue this career because you believe you’ll earn as much as John Madden right away. You’re much less likely to enjoy your job if you pursue it for the wrong reasons; finding out your expectations didn’t align with reality.
What Does it Take to be a Sports Broadcaster?
Remember, there are many different ways people become sports commentators. The information here should only serve as a basic guide. That said, what’s most important is distinguishing yourself. If you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have strong communication skills and a thorough understanding of sports, you’re far more likely to land your dream sports job.