How to Become a Sports Commentator

Sports Commentator Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $50,630
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 1%

If you love sports and have excellent verbal communication skills then you might like to become a sports commentator.

Sports commentators announce sporting events for radio or television broadcast, and they describe the action taking place as well as giving their own viewpoints on the game.

To become a sports commentator, you’ll need to have an excellent speaking manner, as well as the ability to think on your feet.

You’ll need a great knowledge of sports, as well as some skills in journalism.

Becoming a sports commentator will be a rewarding role if you are passionate on the subject.

Commentators also enjoy a celebrity status amongst sports fans, and may be invited to glamorous industry events.

The industry can also be competitive, so you should be ready to work hard and complete internships if you want to succeed.

Educational Requirements to Become a Sports Commentator

To become a sports commentator, you’ll first need to gain quite a bit of work experience.

Many start their career as broadcast journalists.

A good educational background would be to complete a four year bachelors degree in journalism, broadcast journalism, or communications.

College is a great time to get some experience.

Many colleges run student radio, and this is a good opportunity to get some live broadcast experience.

You may also wish to work on your school paper.

When you’re in college, getting an internship within broadcast media are invaluable when seeking a job after college.

You will also need to have a very strong knowledge of sports.

Improving your knowledge of sports teams, players, and statistics is essential in this role.

Most commentators work as sports reporters, writing and researching a range of articles for media outlets.

They may also work behind the scenes as a part of a broadcast like a news or sports program.

In time, you will have the opportunity to work live on the air.

Not all sports commentators take this path.

Many are athletes and coaches who are retired, while some simply work for community radio stations or television programs.

These commentators often achieve commercial success later on.

Sports Commentator Job Description

A sports commentator describes the events of a sporting game or event.

They may broadcast the event on radio, giving enough of a description for listener to understand what is going on.

Sports commentators also work in television, giving a commentary as a companion to a game.

In periods of little action, a commentator may talk about current events in the sport, or different aspects of the sports history.

Some sports commentators perform other roles in the broadcast media industry.

They may write a column, or work as a broadcast reporter.

This is how many get their start.

Some are employed in the sporting industry, and work as a commentator on the side.

Some sports commentators are often employed by sports facilities, such as arenas or race clubs.

These sports commentators are often just known as announcers.

These kind of roles can be a good introduction into the industry.

Sports Commentator Salary and Career Path

When you become a sports commentator, it’s likely your first role will be for a local sporting event, and you may even be working as a volunteer.

Many commentators start small like this, working hard until a big network notices their skills and picks them up.

You can expect your career to progress like this, as you are assigned to commentate more high profile events.

Many commentators have other jobs.

they may work in journalism, or in sports.

The average salary of a sports commentator is $24,000 a year, however the top sports commentators on major networks would earn far more than this, many making six figures plus.

Many commentators also work for little or even no wages at all as a hobby.

Some similar roles to that of sports commentators you might be interested in include:

  • Journalist
  • Announcer
  • Reporter
  • News Analyst
  • Actor
  • Sports Recruiter
  • Sports Agent

If you love sports and know far more about it than all your friends, then you might like to become a sports commentator.

Although this can be a very rewarding career, entry is competitive and pay at many times can often be low.

If you have a great passion for this field, then working in the field you love could be right for you.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
New Hampshire$53,550
New York- NA -
North Carolina$36,820
North Dakota$41,370
South Dakota$31,500
West Virginia$34,300

The top earning state in the field is Florida, where the average salary is $77,030.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Florida - $77,030
Wisconsin - $55,220
Maryland - $54,790
New Hampshire - $53,550
Massachusetts - $53,230
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials, OCC Code 27-2023, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a sports commentator do?

A sports commentator is a professional who provides coverage of sporting events with the help of television, the internet, or radio.

There are sports commentators who specialize in a particular sport, while others prefer to cover different sports; a professional can also be involved in the research and production process.

In most cases, sports commentators work in pairs; one out of the two is typically the play-by-play announcer, while the other is the color commentator.

The latter takes over whenever the game is not in action; he or she might be sharing personal game experiences and knowledge.

The play-by-play announcer is the professional who explains what is happening in the game to the viewers while the game is in action.

Sports commentators usually work in the stadium press box, in a locker room (while interviewing the athletes), or in a television studio.

How much do sports commentators make?

On average, a sports commentator can make a little less than $40.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $28.000 and $97.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the sport, the location and so on.

An entry-level sports commentator can earn around $13 per hour, while a highly experienced professional can make over $47 per hour.

How much does it cost to become a sports commentator?

There are no specific educational requirements to become a sports commentator.

However, a degree in journalism with a specialization in broadcasting would certainly be helpful.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

A lot of professionals have found success in theatre or public speaking.

You can find plenty of classes both online and offline and suitable for your budget.

What is the demand for sports commentators?

Between 2018 and 2028, the broadcast news analysts’ job market (sports commentators included) is expected to grow by 1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is a lot slower than the national average for all occupations in the United States.

The candidates that possess a graduate degree and related on-the-job experience will have better job perspectives.

The competition in the field is extremely high.

How long does it take to become a sports commentator?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree (preferably, in journalism or communications).

Public speaking classes can last for a few weeks or a couple of months.

To become a sports commentator, you certainly need to have an outgoing personality and profound knowledge in sports history.

Experience is extremely important in the industry; seek summer internships or any other working opportunities to get that priceless on-the-job experience and find out what the career is all about from the inside.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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