If you have to check last night's scores before your morning coffee and are the one everyone calls to settle their sports trivia bets, then you might be sportscaster material. Sports announcers should have encyclopedic knowledge of their sports, as well as a pleasant voice and an engaging on-air demeanor. Many sports announcers start out by announcing high school football or basketball games, then move up to college games and perhaps eventually the professional level. Most announcers work for local TV or radio stations, national TV or radio networks, professional sports franchises or college media departments. Jobs run the gamut from sideline news reporters at high school games to game announcers on NFL, NBA or Major League broadcasts.
Play the sports you plan to announce. There is no substitute for direct experience in the game. Getting a few years of playing a sport under your belt, even if it's only at the recreational level, will give you a greater understanding of what it takes to succeed in the sport and a greater knowledge of its rules and strategies.
Earn an undergraduate degree in journalism, preferably broadcast journalism if available; radio, television & film; communications or a related field. An undergraduate degree is considered a basic requirement for most sports announcer jobs.
Apply for internships in your last year or two of college. Obviously, an internship working with sports announcers would be ideal, but even an internship working in a university athletic department or in public relations for a pro sports team would give you valuable experience and contacts. Getting more than one internship under your belt is ideal. If you secure an internship at a radio or TV station, volunteer for assignments that can help you hone your reporting and broadcasting skills, such as covering local high school teams. If you do get air time, keep copies of the video or audio recording to send off to prospective employees when you begin applying for jobs.
Send your resume, writing samples and video or audio clips to organizations that typically hire sports announcers. If you prefer game commentary, you might have to start out applying to small colleges that hire broadcasters to call their football and basketball games. If you have significant playing or coaching experience, you can apply for "color commentator" positions, otherwise you will typically apply for "play-by-play announcer" positions. If you want to pursue sports journalism, apply to local TV or radio stations. Jobs in this field include reporters covering athletic events and sports anchors on news programs. Be sure to take full advantage of the personal and professional contacts you made during your internships. You can contact them directly for jobs, or ask them to provide references.
Consider coaching sports for a few years if you do not have the athletic ability to play at the highest levels. Several years of coaching experience will make you a more attractive candidate for sportscaster jobs, especially if you are interested in being a color commentator instead of a play-by-play announcer.
Announcers earned a median annual salary of $30,860 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, announcers earned a 25th percentile salary of $21,320, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $50,780, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 52,700 people were employed in the U.S. as announcers.