While it may seem like a simple and enjoyable job, sports broadcasting can be quite complex and stressful at times. Sports broadcasters handle a number of different tasks while live on the radio or television. Some do play-by-plays during live games, painting a picture of the action with their words so those listening along can follow every move the players make. Some do sports commentary during and after the game, providing a thorough analysis of each action, play, and strategy employed, while others find themselves on the field or in the locker room, interviewing the players and coaches throughout and after the game.
No matter which type of sports broadcasting you'd like to get into, the career trajectory that you need to take is the same. Let’s find out how to get into sports broadcasting.
Skills Needed for Sports Broadcasting
In order to work as a sports broadcaster, you need to have a number of skills. For example, you need to have excellent communication skills, both when speaking to others and to the camera, so that your broadcast is clear and engaging. You also need to understand the production side of broadcasting, including filming and editing audio and video, so that you know what goes into creating a good broadcast. In some cases, you may need to be able to create and edit video and audio snippets yourself to be used later in the week, on social media or during news broadcasts. In addition to all of that, you must have a vast knowledge of the sport that you're reporting on, so you’re using proper terminology and have the most accurate, up-to-date facts about the league, the teams and the players.
Start by Attending a Pre-College Summer Program
High school students who believe that a career in sports broadcasting is for them can get a leg up on the competition by attending a pre-college summer program. These programs, like the one offered by Dean College, take place on campus for two weeks. If you’re looking to get into sports broadcasting, this is a great place to start. Not only does it give students a taste of college life, but they'll also get to practice their play-by-play skills, create a professional reel, tour a stadium, attend lectures presented by professionals in the field and even obtain college credit.
Get a Degree in Sports Broadcasting
Of course, you need to have a degree in Sports Broadcasting in order to work in the field. The right education will provide students with plenty of experience in covering all aspects of broadcasting, from play-by-plays to on-field interviews, while teaching them the skills that are needed to operate the controls in a booth; record, create, and edit video and audio snippets; and more. By the end of the program, students who are looking to get into sports broadcasting will have learned everything that they need to know in order to start applying for jobs.
Work For Your College Station and Team
Want to gain a major advantage? While in working on your degree in sports broadcasting, you can also gain plenty of hands-on experience by working for your college radio and television stations, as well as for one of the sports teams. Having your own show, or working for someone who already has one, helps you hone your skills in front of or behind the camera and control boards. Plus, spending time working as a statistician or student manager for a college sports team provides you with the opportunity to enhance your sports knowledge outside of the classroom. At Dean, you’ll be on the air in your first semester, gaining valuable experience and starting to build your reel right from the beginning.
Obtain an Internship in the Field
It almost goes without saying that every field requires an internship of some sort these days, and sports broadcasting is no exception. Getting experience on the air and behind the scenes is one of the most important things you can do to break into the sports broadcasting field. As an intern, you can learn how to work a professional control board, editing audio and video created by the professionals, help out the marketing team and even broadcast games yourself. You'll get a chance to learn exactly what it's like to work for a team or at a television or radio station, and get to know the professionals in the field who you'll need to network with later in order to obtain a job.
Create a Demo Tape or Reel
After graduating with your degree in sports broadcasting, it's obviously time to find a job. However, most teams, radio and television stations will need something besides a standard paper resume (though you'll need to submit that as well): a demo tape or reel. This media should consist of your best work as a student on-air reporter, either through your coursework, your on-campus radio or TV experience, or your internship. You'll need to submit this along with your resume in order to be considered for jobs. While you’re trying to get into sports broadcasting, it’s important to remember that your reel will often serve as your “first impression” – make it count!
Network With Others in the Field
Networking is crucial these days. Finding a job is a matter of not only being in the right place at the right time (and having the knowledge necessary to do the job), but it also depends on who you know. You can network simply by getting to know others in the field, such as guest lecturers at your college courses and the professionals that you interned with, attending events and conferences and connecting with people who work in sports broadcasting. The more people you know, the more likely it is that you'll find a job.
Find an Agent to Help You Out
Eventually, talented sports broadcasters are ready to move on from the small-time stations where they started out and look for jobs at larger stations or bigger teams in more populated areas. In order to break into these markets, you'll need the help of an agent. An agent will charge you a percentage of your contract price with the place that they help you find a job at, but it's definitely worth it, because they have industry contacts, know the best way to get you hired, can help you negotiate contracts and more to support your career.
In the end, a career in sports broadcasting takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it always helps to know people in high places along the way! Ready to take the first step? Learn more about our Sports Broadcasting degree program.