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How does somebody who has not played a particular sport able to broadcast about it?

My name's Annalie, I'm a 17 year old girl from Long Island, New York or follows sports, especially soccer relatively closely, and was curious while watching a female panel discuss a football game. #broadcast-media #sports-marketing #career-path-planning

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Caleb Reid’s Answer

Hello Annalie,

When broadcasting sports, it's critical for not only the announcers and people you see on TV doing play-by-play or color commentary like Brandon was saying to know about the sport, but also the entire production crew (producers, statisticians, directors, etc.) If you don't understand the X's and O's of the sport, statistics and have knowledge of the game, then it's difficult to best-tell the story that the production team is trying to tell. One has to know the ins and outs of a sport to be credible.

Straying away from game commentary specifically, think of SportsCenter anchors like Linda Cohn for example. Linda was an avid hockey player through college, but she is very knowledgeable across the board to cover whatever story/sport comes her way.

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Sidney’s Answer

Hi Annalie,

In my opinion, you don't have to play a sport to love it or be knowledgeable. You have to be passionate about it. Follow it and learn as much as you can. Read and watch as much as possible to stay current on the story lines. Also, learn about the history of the game to gain perspective of why things are unique or important.

It's like being a film critic. Most of them don't make movies but love it and know so much about the industry that they can critique it in a knowledgeable way.

The best example I can give you is I never played hockey. Yet for my job I needed to know it so I watched as many games as I could. Read about the history and the former greats. Also, I played fantasy hockey to learn about the current players and really developed a passion for the game.

Hope this helps, best of luck to you!

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Brandon’s Answer

Most sport broadcasts have an analyst (typically someone who as played the sport) and an announcer who is the conduit to the game for the viewer. This traditional model has been challenged in recent years by people like Jessica Mendoza who was a professional softball player and is now a baseball analyst. The short answer to your question is any form of broadcaster will do research on the sport and on the particular game they working on. The more games you watch and learn about the more you will increase your knowledge base.

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Barry’s Answer

Hi, Annalie!

My man Sid said it really well, but I will add this perspective to help as well. There are two main components to commenting on games - strategy of how the games are played and what strategies influence player movement amongst teams/front offices, and then...the PEOPLE who play/stage/officiate the games.

People are people, wherever you go. Whether they're playing instruments, running for political office, or playing kids' games, people still have the same types of wants/needs. Get to know not just the players' names and how they operate on the field/court/track/rink, but what has led to their being in that place at that time. Much moreso now than even 20 years ago, the stories we present at ESPN are not really centered on what happens on the field, per se.

One good way to learn how a particular game is played from a strategic standpoint is to listen to radio broadcasts of the sport. When you can't see it on the screen, the announcers have to be much more descriptive of what's going on and often spell out the strategy that TV viewers take for granted because they can see it developing.

Hope this helps. Best of luck to you as you follow your dream! It CAN happen with a lot of hard work and sacrifice.


Barry Abrams