For sports fanatics and athletes who never made it to the big time, the job of a sportscaster can be a dream come true. Sportscasters make a living reporting, analyzing and attending sporting events. They might concentrate on one specific sport or a range of sports, such is the case with sports news reporters. Many sportscasters comment on live games, and others mostly read scripts. These days, sportscasters need a similar background to other broadcast journalists.
Most professional sportscasters have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of sports facts and figures from the past and present. This knowledge comes from reading sports almanacs, magazines, watching games and talking sports with other fans. Sportscasters need to be able to cite facts and figures on the spot, digging into their expansive knowledge of sports to make meaningful connections between players, teams, coaches and other aspects of the game. If you don’t love sports enough to observe and study them day in and day out, then a career as a sportscaster is probably not for you. One of the best ways to improve your sports knowledge is to watch famous sportscasters in action.
There are a lot of ways to gain the necessary background experience to be a professional sportscaster. Start small by calling games for your local high school or youth sports league, reporting on sports for the local newspaper or starting up a sports blog. It’s going to takes years to establish yourself as a sportscaster, but there’s no harm in starting today. These early experiences will teach you valuable lessons and lay the foundation for your career as a sportscaster. Nearly all big-time sportscasters on ESPN or other sports channels began their careers at the bottom, reporting on local news stations for little pay.
These days, sportscasters usually need a bachelor’s degree to be taken seriously for employment at a major news station. Broadcasting, communications, radio and TV, and journalism are excellent major choices for those seriously considering a career as a sportscaster. Most bachelor’s degrees require that you study a range of topics linked to your major, which may include literature, film production, history, law, editing, creative writing and electronic media. While pursuing your bachelor’s degree, look into internship opportunities where you can gain real, on-the-job experience in broadcast journalism.
Even if you’ve dedicated your entire life to sports and now have a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, don’t expect to start calling games for the New York Yankees. This field is highly competitive, and you most likely will start at the bottom working for a small local news station. Most stations already have sportscasters, so if they do hire you, you likely will be doing grunt work in some other area unrelated to sports. The important thing is to view this experience as a learning opportunity and a chance to make meaningful connections with others in the field. Networking is key to survival in journalism. Listen to your superiors and those who have been doing the job for a long time. Beginning sportscasters have a lot to learn and should take career goals one step at a time.