Sports announcers describe the action and provide colorful commentary for broadcasts of sporting events. They can work in television or radio or for an internet media outlet. Former coaches and players are hired for commentary jobs while other announcers handle the play-by-play duties.
Announcers who work for many years calling games for a specific team are associated with that team. At its highest levels, a career as a sports announcer can be glamorous and offer a generous salary. But it is important to note that announcers at the top of their game have typically paid their dues in less exciting places to land those coveted jobs.
Sports Announcer Duties & Responsibilities
This job generally requires the following abilities and qualities:
- Knowledge of the sport, the teams that are playing, and their players.
- The ability to quickly summarize what's happening during the game.
- The ability to offer commentary on the game.
- The ability to banter with your on-air colleagues.
- Knowledge of how the particular form of broadcasting works.
Sports announcers must combine all of those attributes so the things they say engage the audience and come across as friendly and intelligent. They should let their personalities shine through but not to the extent that they interfere with viewer and listener enjoyment of the game.
Sports Announcer Salary
The salary of a sports announcer varies based on the level of experience and the size of the media market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not compile salary data specifically for sports announcers. These figures are for all types of announcers, including those who present music and news, on radio or television. Hourly figures are based on a 40-hour workweek.
- Median Annual Salary: $33,220 ($15.97/hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $94,450 ($45.41/hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $19,120 ($9.19/hour)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018
Education, Training, & Certification
Sports announcers typically begin preparation for their careers in college, in and out of classes.
- Education: Sports announcers often receive a bachelor’s degree in a major such as communications, journalism, radio, television, or multimedia. Speech, voice, and music classes may be beneficial to develop an appealing voice.
- Training: Sports announcers need to demonstrate extensive experience to kick-start their career, and many begin by calling games for various sports programs at their college.
Sports Announcer Skills & Competencies
Sports announcers in major media markets like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are so polished they make the job look easy. It takes a lot of practice as well as the following qualities and abilities to be a successful announcer:
- Excellent speaking voice: Sports announcers must have a voice people want to listen to. They should be in command of it, speaking clearly and confidently.
- Interpersonal skills: They must interact effectively with other on-air talents as well as, in some cases, in-studio guests and people who call their show.
- Research: In smaller markets, they conduct their own research to generate statistics and trivia about the home team and their opponents.
- Writing: They may also write material for the broadcast or for use in other media.
- Technical savvy: They must be able to use the various pieces of technological equipment their particular job utilizes.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for all types of announcers is expected to fall 9% from 2016 to 2026. Employment of radio and television announcers is projected to experience a larger decline at 12%. The BLS cites the ongoing consolidation of radio and TV stations and broadcasting companies as the cause of this decline.
Sports announcers work most prominently in broadcast booths at stadiums and other sporting venues. They may also work in an office-type setting while preparing for broadcasts.
A sports announcer's schedule depends on the schedule of the team or sporting events they cover. Consequently, they work at various times of the day and night and on weekends and holidays.
How to Get the Job
Aspiring sports announcers who are in college should seek internships that will help them get their foot in the door with a team or broadcasting company.
WRITE A TARGETED RESUME AND COVER LETTER
Record games, review the games, and keep track of excellent calls or commentary. Provide compilations of your best clips to media outlets when applying for jobs.
Comparing Similar Jobs
People interested in becoming sports announcers might also consider the following jobs. The figures provided are median annual salaries:
- Broadcast and sound engineering technician: $43,660
- Broadcast reporter, correspondent, or news analyst: $43,490
- Film and video editor or camera operator: $58,990
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018