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Sports commentator

Sports commentators describe the action and give insights at sporting events for TV, radio and online audiences.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 42 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Sports commentator jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a sports commentator, you could:

  • research facts on teams, athletes, coaches or players
  • describe the action as it happens and give updates on results and highlights
  • take direction from the show's producer
  • interview sports professionals live or for recorded clips
  • work with experts who give their opinion or statistics
  • update your website, blog or social media feed

Working environment

You could work at a recording studio, at a sports arena or on a sports field.

Your working environment may be noisy, crowded, outdoors some of the time and you'll travel often.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

There is no set entry route to become a sports commentator but it can be useful to study for a degree in a related subject like:

  • journalism
  • sports journalism
  • TV and radio production
  • sports business and broadcasting

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You may be able to apply for a place on an apprenticeship to get into this job, for example:

  • Journalist Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship
  • Senior Journalist Level 7 Apprenticeship - leading to a professional qualification

For more information

You could start by working as a broadcast assistant in a television or radio company.

You'll need to work your way up from commentating at a local level and by applying for promotion as you get more experience.

You'll also need to show employers that you have the sports knowledge and commentating skills that they're looking for.

Volunteering and work experience

For most jobs, you'll need some practical experience and be able to show you have a real enthusiasm for sports commentating.

To get work experience you could:

  • volunteer to commentate on charity events like fun runs
  • commentate at matches or meets for local amateur sports clubs
  • record commentary for websites or internet radio stations
  • volunteer for community, hospital or student radio

You can get a list of radio stations from:

Look out for work experience placements, insight and talent days with broadcasters like:

The Sports Journalists' Association has more advice about where to look for work experience.

Direct application

You can apply directly to employers if you've got some of the relevant skills and knowledge needed for this job. You'll usually need a background in sport or journalism.

If you're a current or ex-sports professional, you might start as a co-commentator or summariser, offering a specialist opinion, before progressing to lead commentator.

More information

Career tips

Competition for jobs is strong and very few jobs are advertised. Building up a network of industry contacts can help you find out about vacancies.

You'll need to record examples of your commentating to show your skills to potential employers.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Sports Journalists' Association for training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in radio sports presenting from The Pips.

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You could move from short-term, freelance contract work to full-time permanent work with regional, national or international broadcasters.

With experience, you could become a studio-based presenter, move into programme making and producing, management, or written sports reporting.

You could join the Sports Journalists' Association for training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

You can find out more about careers in sports commentating from The Pips and BBC Academy.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • a good memory
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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