What Does a Sports Announcer Do?

Dan Cavallari

A sports announcer is a person who narrates the events in a particular sports game that is broadcast on television, radio, or other media. The specific responsibilities of the sports announcer can vary depending on the type of media through which he or she is announcing as well as what sport is being described, but generally, an announcer will be responsible for relaying the events of the game to the audience in a meaningful and clear way. Before a game begins, the announcer will need to do a bit of research on various players, events, and history to prevent dead air during the broadcast.

Some sports announcers start out as announcers for local radio or television stations.
Some sports announcers start out as announcers for local radio or television stations.

Most networks will hire more than one sports announcer to announce a game. The primary sports announcer will be responsible for narrating the play by play action of the game, while a color commentator will add bits of dialogue and interesting information to help the broadcast become more fun and relevant for listeners. On television, these announcers rarely get time on the screen, appearing at the beginning and end of the game only. In some cases, the announcers may make appearances during pauses in a game, though this is not always the case. Their voices are heard throughout the broadcast, however, which means the sports announcer must have a clear and understandable tone and diction.

Sports announcers narrate events in a televised game.
Sports announcers narrate events in a televised game.

Research is an important component of the sports announcer position. He or she must have a good understanding of how a particular game is played, but more importantly, the announcer must keep current on big news in the sporting world, stats for individual players, and stand-by topics to prevent dead air during the broadcast. Announcers must be aware of the action as it happens and be able to describe the events clearly to a listening audience. This requires a knowledge of the game, but more importantly, a passion for sports. The announcer must lend excitement and enthusiasm to the broadcast to ensure listeners are engaged.

A sports announcer may call a game for a local school team.
A sports announcer may call a game for a local school team.

There is no set path by which a person can become a sports announcer. Some announcers simply have a love for a particular game, and they take jobs as announcers for local radio stations or television stations to start. They can work their way up through the ranks as time goes on. Others earn degrees in broadcast journalism or other related fields to prepare for a job in the broadcasting field. Former athletes often become announcers after their playing careers are complete.

Sports announcers give a blow by blow recap of a match.
Sports announcers give a blow by blow recap of a match.
Sportscasters may broadcast in a somewhat soundproof booth close to the action.
Sportscasters may broadcast in a somewhat soundproof booth close to the action.
Sports announcers are expected to have abroad understanding of the history of the fanbases of the teams they cover.
Sports announcers are expected to have abroad understanding of the history of the fanbases of the teams they cover.

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