Becoming a Sports Anchor: Job Description & Salary Information

About this article
Sports anchors make a median annual salary of about $43,000. Is it worth the education requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to see if becoming a sports anchor is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Sports Anchor Career

A career as a sports anchor is more than just discussing sports with experts and the public. You'll get a chance to write your own segments and incorporate enthusiasm when reporting. Read on for more pros and cons to see if becoming a sports anchor is for you.

Pros of Being a Sports Anchor
Able to interview various sports experts and athletes*
Advancement opportunities with experience (e.g. move to bigger market or advance to news director)*
Can reach wide audience on topics*
Degree of creativity on the job*

Cons of Being a Sports Anchor
Meager rise in employment (2% projected from 2012-2022)*
Long and irregular hours*
Pressure to meet deadlines*
Competition for jobs*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Sports anchors write scripts and present sports news through television or radio broadcasts. They come up with story ideas and form relationships with people such as athletes, agents and coaches. They interview sports players inside and outside of a studio for a live or recorded broadcast. Because of the prevalence of Internet news options, sports anchors may also be expected to present information for podcasts or video blogs. Sports anchors need to keep up-to-date with local and national sports and present information that's easy to understand and analyze.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide a job outlook specifically for sports anchors. However, the organization reported that all announcers are estimated to have an 2% increase in employment from 2012-2022. In July 2015, PayScale.com stated that sports anchors from the 10th-90th percentile groups made annual salaries ranging from about $28,000 to $98,000.

Requirements for the Job

The BLS noted that employers typically look for candidates with a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism or a related field. Even though you might want to specialize only in sports, you might have to start your career by broadening your interests and knowledge. Some employers, especially in small cities, may require you to be a generalized anchor that can address several subjects. You should consider taking courses in a wide range of subjects in preparation for that possibility.

Useful Skills

Because this is a career that requires a measure of likability and charisma, you must be able to speak and write well for the job. In order to be successful for the job, here are some other qualities that employers were seeking:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Persistence
  • Ability to succeed in a stressful environment
  • Objective on controversial stories
  • Like to work and talk with people
  • Team player

Job Postings from Real Employers

Experience and a great personality are common requirements for sports anchors. The positions may require you to work weekdays or weekends. Anchors with technical skills are sought after. Here are some open jobs from May 2012:

  • A television station in North Dakota looked for a sports anchor that could cover both weekends and weekdays. Applicants also needed experience with photography. The employer wanted someone with strong camera presence and communication skills.
  • A Missouri television station needed a generalized anchor that could cover a variety of topics, including sports. The morning opening is full-time and requires previous anchor experience. Applicants had to have strong reporting abilities and good people skills.
  • An information center in Georgia asked for an experienced sports anchor who could also work as a multimedia journalist. Applicants needed to have strong storytelling abilities and flexibility in a variety of settings. The applicants also needed to be able to have good computer skills, since they would be required to edit multimedia content.

How to Stand out

The BLS states that besides a degree, it's especially important to have some kind of experience. While in school, experience can be gained through an internship. These are typically for credit and may be offered through the fall, spring or summer semesters. As a sports intern, you'd learn how to research, write, produce and shoot a sports segment. Getting internships with a variety of news organizations can help you get your foot in the door for jobs, as long as you build good relationships with your employers and coworkers. You could also write for your school newspapers as a sports reporter. Another way you can stand out is by having good computer and photography skills. Taking courses in digital photography, film editing and other multimedia subjects can be beneficial, since employers may expect workers who can multitask.

Alternative Careers

Announcer

Announcers have slightly better expected employment statistics than sports anchors. They can work for radio stations, broadcasting companies and individual clients in settings like weddings or parties. These workers are different from sports anchors in that they don't write scripts, but they're expected to research topics before appearing on-air. Typically, these workers need to have a bachelor's degree, though some public address announcers only need a high school diploma and training.

According to the BLS, radio and television announcers had a projected seven percent employment growth for 2010-2020. The BLS reported that these workers made a median annual salary of about $27,000 as of May 2011. However, there is keen competition for these jobs.

Technical Writer

If you're looking for a career that has better expected employment growth and salary, one option is as a technical writer. Technical writers write materials ranging from instruction manuals to online technical articles. They may also revise and edit old articles as needed. You would need to have a bachelor's degree to qualify for work. The BLS expected technical writers to have a 17% employment growth from 2010-2020. As of May 2011, the median annual salary for these writers was about $65,000. The average employment growth was due to the need for good writers who can filter in technical information and produce easy-to-understand manuals.

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Full Sail University

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  • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
  • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
  • BS - Creative Writing for Entertainment (Campus)

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Purdue University

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  • Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication Management

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Johns Hopkins University

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  • Master of Arts in Science Writing
  • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Applied Research for Communication
  • Certificate in Science Writing

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • BS Human Communications
  • A.S. General Studies - Communications
  • Undergraduate Certificate - Communications

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Excelsior College

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Penn Foster High School

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Judson University

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