There are many routes to becoming a sports analyst, but all require mastering certain skills and technical knowledge. Here is a comprehensive guide with 5 steps to help you become a sports analyst—including key skills, job roles, and responsibilities.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Every time you turn on your TV to watch a game, you’ve likely noticed the sports analysts—the voices providing side stories, commentary, and statistics with each play. If you have a passion for sports and a head for statistical analysis, you may be wondering how to become a sports analyst.
Use this comprehensive guide to learn how to become a sports analyst in five steps.
Sports analysts report sports-related stories for various media outlets. Using data analysis and communication skills, sports analysts break down the intricacies of various sports, recapping games for various media outlets. As a sports analyst, you could work for one specific employer including a TV station, a newspaper or magazine, a blog, or a podcast production company.
You might also choose to be a freelance sports analyst and pitch sports news stories to different media outlets. It’s a natural transition for former athletes and coaches. As a former athlete, you might focus on your sport, providing an expert angle to your commentary. You could also choose to cover multiple sporting events, offering data analysis and hot takes on players, teams, games, and leagues.
The job market for a sports analyst primarily consists of large sports networks, radio, and streaming platforms. As traditional television viewership decreases, the outlook for sports broadcasters is also declining. It is projected to decline 11% over the next few years. Sports analysts are more in demand in big cities with multiple teams. If you’re interested in this career, you might need to consider relocating to an area with a large market.
Streaming services and online media, such as podcasting, YouTube, and other video platforms, offer an alternative to the traditional career path. You might consider starting your own show through YouTube or Vimeo, or you could start a podcast. But keep in mind that you will be responsible for marketing and growing the show yourself. If you have an entertaining personality and a unique point of view, this break from the traditional path might be a valuable alternative to traditional media outlets.
Sports analysts typically have a bachelor’s degree in communication, journalism, sports journalism, or broadcasting. You will also need to learn about data science and data analytics to know how to find and analyze relevant statistics for each broadcast.
If you’re interested in changing careers, you may be able to bypass undergraduate degree requirements by showing experience in a related field. For example, if your former career included heavy data analysis and reporting, highlight this in your resume.
Apply your data analysis skills while watching games. Pay attention to win-loss records, game outcomes, individual player stats, and other information that impacts the team’s overall performance.
Part of your job as a sports analyst is to assess statistical models, providing thorough assessments of teams, individual athletes, and games. You may also be asked to make educated predictions on who will win games, but you need to have statistical data to back your assumption. Pay attention to these statistics in real-world sports and practice using the data to create interesting and informative stories.
You may be concerned about how to become a sports analyst if you lack experience. Getting an internship with a local television station or other media outlet is an ideal way to gain relevant experience and network with professionals in the field. Most schools offer credit for internships, and stations often look for interns from various schools.
You can also offer to perform sports analysis and create write-ups for your school’s athletics department. Start networking by attending sports conferences and other media events. When you meet people in the business, offer to volunteer so you can learn the ropes. Don’t be choosy. You may end up covering obscure sports in your area at first.
Craft your resume to highlight relevant experience in broadcasting, communication, and statistical analysis. Look through the job description and emphasize skills and experiences that match keywords in the description. If you’re a former athlete, list it on your resume and discuss how it will help you excel in your future job.
If you’ve completed an internship or volunteered, you might be able to land a full-time job based on your work experience. Making contacts and staying active in relevant LinkedIn groups can improve your chances of getting an interview and getting hired.
One of the key tenets of journalism is to remain objective. As a sports analyst, you need to follow this mantra. Tailor your reports using accurate data. Your data science training will equip you to make logical predictions and analyses.
Even after you’ve gotten a job, keep networking to find reliable, credible sources for each story. Always fact-check your stories or scripts before they are released to the public. Paying attention to detail will enhance your credibility and deepen your insights, making you a reliable source for sports fans.
Sports analysis is a field that combines storytelling prowess with solid analytical skills. To be a sports analyst, you should develop the following skills and qualifications:
Not only will you need to communicate in a compelling and confident way as you narrate the action, you'll also need to work well with the other people in the studio. A good sports analyst will also be able to write broadcasting material and use statistical and data analysis to make accurate judgments.
Your salary as a sports analyst or sports journalist will vary depending on your city and the size of your employer. At a small, local TV station, a sports analyst will make less than a sports analyst with a large following on a national network.
The national average salary for a sports analyst is $59,545 per year. You can improve your salary outlook by gaining experience and becoming a credible source in the field. A strong personality and unique point-of-view can also help you land a job with a national company like ESPN.
Sports analytics is a fun and rewarding career for passionate sports fans who have a penchant for numbers. Whether you’re a former athlete or a die-hard sports fan, learning about data analytics can help you transition into this profession.
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