Sports journalists bring sports fans and enthusiasts the news that they want to hear regarding their favorite sports, teams and athletes. Sports journalists are both writers and broadcasters who are paid to cover one of the nation's largest entertainment industries. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 45,000 individuals worked as reporters and correspondents throughout the United States in 2010, while nearly 5,700 worked as broadcast new analysts. Only a small number work in the sports journalism field.
Sports reporters and correspondent salaries are reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics among the salaries earned by all reporters and correspondents nationwide. The BLS notes that sports journalists made an average salary of $43,780 per year, as of 2010. Salaries in this field generally ranged from about $20,000 to $75,000 per year, according to the BLS. Those in the middle half of the pay scale made salaries that ranged from $25,500 to $51,500.
Broadcast News Analysts
Sports journalists working as broadcast news analysts could expect to make salaries that ranged from about $27,500 to about $146,000 per year, as of 2010, according to the BLS. Within this wide range of salaries, sports broadcasters made a median salary of $54,140 and an average salary of $72,710 per year. Those in the middle 50 percent of the pay scale made salaries that ranged from $35,550 to $84,560 on an annual basis.
Some sports journalists who are more well-known have been able to ink substantial deals working for major publications like "Sports Illustrated" or for major sports news networks like ESPN. For instance, Michael Wilbon, of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, signed a deal for $8 million over a four-year span of time, starting in 2007, according to the "Washingtonian." Rick Reilly, one of the better-known names in the sports journalism field, made an average salary of $3.4 million per year over a five-year span, as of 2007, reported the Business Insider website. Those at the top of the industry are generally well-established news and radio personalities who have gained acclaim in the industry for their personality or for hard-hitting analysis and reporting.
Getting into the sports journalism field can be extremely difficult, especially getting beyond entry-level positions to some of the higher paying and more high-profile positions in the field. Sports journalists typically have to pay their dues and work long hard hours in lower-paying jobs before gaining recognition or moving into managerial positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a fairly bleak picture for job growth in the broadcast journalism field. The BLS projects that jobs in this field will decline by about 6 percent from 2008 to 2018.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition -- News Analysts, Reporters and Correspondents
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010 -- Reporters and Correspondents
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010 -- Broadcast News Analysts
- Business Insider: How to Make Money In Old Media: Stay In Old Media
- Washingtonian: Will Wilbon’s $8 Million TV Deal Make Him a Stranger at the Post?