Anyone who has seen or listened to a professional baseball, basketball, football or soccer game has seen sports broadcasters in action. They describe the action taking place on fields or in arenas so fans know how their teams are doing. But for every professional or Olympic sports broadcaster, there are many more who announce games for minor league, college or high school teams. Most are outgoing and knowledgeable of the sports they're broadcasting. If you want to be a sports broadcaster, it helps to have a bachelor's degree. In return, expect to earn an above-average annual salary.
Salary and Qualifications
The average annual salary for a sports broadcaster was $59,000 as of 2013, according to the job website Simply Hired. To break into this field, you will need to first earn a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism or broadcasting. There are, however, former baseball or basketball players who don't have degrees but get hired because of their expertise. While in college, consider participating in an internship program where you can assist a professional broadcaster in calling basketball or football games for the school. The university might even hire you to work on the radio, for example, when you graduate. Sports broadcasters often start in small markets to get experience, and then apply for jobs in larger markets after they've honed their skills. Some important skills and qualities for the sports broadcasting profession include persistence and research, speaking and computer skills.
Salary by City
Salaries for sports broadcasters can vary somewhat by city. In 2013, they earned some of the highest average salaries of $74,000 per year in New York City, according to Simply Hired. If you worked in Boston or Chicago, you would also earn a relatively high salary of $71,000 or $65,000 per year, respectively. Expect to earn salaries closer to the industry average in Dallas or Cincinnati -- $60,000 or $59,000 per year, respectively. Sports broadcasters in Miami and Nashville made slightly less at $57,000 and $56,000, respectively.
Experience is your key to earning more money as a sports broadcaster. Like most of these professionals, you will likely start out in a smaller market, whether you work for a college or professional team, or TV network. Smaller market teams usually have smaller budgets, so you will likely earn less. Once you've perfected your skills and gained more exposure in the industry, you can apply for a job in a larger market where salaries tend to be higher.
Jobs for broadcasters, including sports broadcasters, are expected to increase 7 percent in the next decade -- from 2010 to 2020 -- according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This rate of growth is slower than the 14 percent rate for all jobs. Fewer broadcasters and staff are needed because of improvements in broadcasting technology, which is why the growth rate for the broadcasting industry is slower than average. But new sports and leagues are being created every year. Therefore, your best chance of breaking into the sports broadcasting field is to gain experience in a broad range of sports.
2016 Salary Information for Announcers
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.