Career Review: Sports Analyst

So, you want to become a sports analyst…?

Do you love sports? Do you love media production? Did you grow up watching programs such as ESPN? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the world of a sports analyst. In this article we will be looking at what a sports analyst does, necessary skills and experience to get into the field, how to prepare for the future and have the best skill set possible when entering the real world, average salary, and we will even dive into the great Stephen A Smith himself.

What does a Sports Analyst do?

A sports analyst may be tasked with doing many different things, but their focus is typically working for a media company and closely following sports and the statistics and events that surround them. This usually means being on air or some sort of podcast or radio publication, but it is not mandatory to go on live television and many in the line of work prefer to stay behind the scenes of the whole operation. Sports analysts must prepare heavily each morning before presenting the sports world with the information and recaps for the day. A lot of the more well-known analysts travel around for big sporting events and must be prepared for the hectic, high energy lifestyle of constantly being on the go. Whether you’re in one studio or on the go constantly, your life will be filled with sports facts, sports stats, and everything sports. You will eat, sleep, and breath sports. The fans of your publication will be your biggest critics, so you must come equipped with vast sports knowledge and thick skin in order to keep them on your side.

Necessary Skills/Experience

  1. You must possess a comprehensive understanding of sports and the media world. No company is going to hire an underprepared, lackluster employee. They are looking for the top-notch sports fans and people who have a true understanding of all the required knowledge.

2. A bachelor’s degree. This is something that may not seem like a huge deal especially in this field, but it most certainly is. Unless you want to work independently and sell your stories and pieces of work directly to these companies, you’ll need a degree to ensure your best chance of being hired and achieving great success within one of these sports media companies.

3. You must be flexible and creative. This career area seems much more enjoyable than many other fields, but if you are not flexible and creative, then I personally do not believe this job is right for you. Being monotone on air and not being able to work into the network or producer’s schedule will spell bad news for you and your success with the company. Employers are searching for people who can smile and be creative in a pinch. They also want unwavering loyalty to their network and dedication to the success of the brand.

Looking Ahead/ Planning for the future.

Internships are a great way to get started at a college level. They give you experience and something to put on your resume when applying for jobs in the field. Being able to say you’ve worked in the system and understand certain aspects of it that the untrained person would not is a huge advantage that employers should not overlook. This means less required training on their end and faster results of newly hired employees. This is a win for both sides. Any seemingly little leg up will prove to be huge in grabbing the attention of whoever is viewing your resume or application. When they see that you have been a part of a club or have been a part of an internship program that automatically proves to them that you are at least somewhat worthy of consideration. The application process can be tiresome, and it is a very competitive space, so you’ll want to insure your best possible chances of getting an interview scheduled or getting that call back.

Average Salaries

Newcomer- $25,000-$39,000. Average experience/tenure with said company $40,000-$70,000. Upper percentile of workers $75,000-$99,999. The top earning individuals can expect close to or upwards of $100,000. There is plenty of room for growth within the salary structures of most sports media companies. At first glance it may seem like you will not be able to make a living for many years but if you live modestly at first you can reap the benefits of patiently waiting and eventually getting a bumped-up salary. While the lower numbers may be a deterrent for some you have to remember that everyone starts somewhere, and you cannot expect a reasonable or high salary right away without proving your value and years of service towards the company. That is just the way the cookie crumbles. Salary is secondary on the list of importance in my eyes, only falling short to overall happiness and interest in your occupation. I’m a firm believer in the more you enjoy your occupation, the more you’ll get out of it and your life will be better for it.

A look into someone who has already proven themselves in this field… Stephen Anthony Smith.

Stephen A. Smith began his career as a reporter covering the Philadelphia 76ers. He eventually became a general sport columnist and got his name out into the sports media world. Fast forward many years of hard work and dedication to his craft, Smith is an icon in the sports world and especially in the sports media space. He is known for his over the top and funny ways of expressing himself on air. He feels very strongly about certain subjects and is not afraid to let you know how he feels. Smith does all sorts of things in the sports media world such as being a radio host and a sports journalist, but the thing he is most well-known for is this debate style sports talk shows that have been on Fox and ESPN. He covers many different sports, but his bread and butter are basketball and football. He truly is an inspiration to all the young kids dreaming of one day being where he is right now.


I hope this article helps point you in the right direction and give you valuable insight on the world and day-to-day life of a sports analyst. This work is not cut out for everyone and not everyone will succeed, but if you use some of the tips listed in this article to help yourself get ahead and you remain focused, good things will come to those who are patient and dedicated.