Sports commentator Sports announcer, sports presenter, pundit
Sports commentators describe what’s happening at sporting events to listeners and viewers and offer their opinions.
1. Entry requirements
You can get into this career:
- by training as a journalist and then specialising in sports
- by commentating on sports at a local level with or without a degree or background in journalism
- after having a career as a sports professional
To build a network of industry contacts and to get experience, you could also:
- volunteer to commentate on charity events like fun runs
- commentate for amateur matches at schools, college or for local teams
- record commentary for websites or internet radio stations
- volunteer for community, hospital or student radio, or TV
- get a placement or internship
The Sports Journalists’ Association and BBC Academy have more information on becoming a sports commentator.
2. Skills required
- excellent communication skills
- a clear voice and good pronunciation
- confidence when talking to large numbers of people
- good research skills
- the ability to react quickly to unexpected situations
3. What you'll do
You’ll commentate on anything from local football and rugby fixtures to large spectator games, competitions and events like the Olympic Games.
You’ll specialise in just one sport or cover a number of different ones.
Your duties may include:
- preparing for an event by researching clubs or players
- working with a production team
- taking direction from a producer
- interviewing sports professionals
- commentating on events before, during and after the fixture
- working with experts who give their opinion or statistics
- updating your website, blog or social media feed
For radio, you’ll need to ‘say what you see’ and paint a picture of what’s happening for listeners.
You’ll need to stay impartial and give balanced commentary.
Starter: £13,000 to £19,000 (trainee)
Experienced: £20,000 to £45,000
Highly Experienced: £80,000
Freelance rates can vary widely, and can depend on your experience and track record.
Salaries are usually higher in television than in radio. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has information on pay guidelines.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environmentYour working week may be long and irregular. You’ll make live or recorded commentaries at sporting events, which can take place during the day, in the evening or at the weekend.
Your environment will depend on the kind of event you’re commentating on. You may be working outdoors in all weathers or in indoor arenas.
You could travel around the UK or overseas.
6. Career path and progressionWith experience, you could become a studio-based presenter, move into programme making and producing, management, or written sports reporting.
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Last updated: 14 December 2016