As the COVID-19 pandemic kicked into full gear earlier this year, several industries were left wondering how to move forward – including the world of sports. Sports and the television and radio networks that cover major sporting events were faced with the unknown.
For months, the future of professional sports broadcasting seemed up in the air, especially as constantly-shifting health recommendations urged putting a halt on sporting events. After all, if there aren’t any games or matches going on, what place does a sports broadcaster have? And for prospective broadcasters just starting on their long-term career paths, the future seemed to take a bleak turn.
But as it turns out, sports broadcasting wasn’t ready to go down without a fight. Innovation, determination, and a readiness to redefine traditional methods have helped many sports networks stay successful during the confusion and uncertainty of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Leads to a Seismic Shift in Sports Broadcasting
In the spring of 2020, COVID began to impact sports as we know them: seasons were cut short, championships were canceled, and several major broadcast events were put on hold indefinitely. Studios were closed, and broadcasters were sent home and left to figure out how to continue their work in their improvised, in-house “sets.” Television networks that have established their daily programming schedules solely around live sports were particularly thrown for a loop as virtually every sporting event came to a screeching halt.
If you are one of the many sports enthusiasts that have considered a career in sports broadcast TV, you may be asking yourself how to get a job in broadcasting in the age of COVID-19. For most individuals pursuing sports broadcasting jobs, there’s been plenty of doubt surrounding their future careers.
But thankfully, there’s good news – you don’t have to give up on your dreams after all. Even as COVID-19 has dramatically shifted what it looks like to be a sports broadcaster, there is still a wide range of opportunities for those interested in breaking into the field. Sports networks haven’t gone away; instead, they’ve skillfully adapted to these unusual times.
An Unexpected Increase in the Demand for Broadcast Content
There are a few aspects that could have been predicted about the experience of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, not the least of which is how growing audiences would consume much more content.
Interestingly, sports broadcast shows, podcasts, streaming entertainment, and other forms of content have seen a sharp rise in downloads, views, and streams. The most likely cause? Many Americans are working remotely, and a significant portion of the country is spending more time than ever consistently staying home. As a result, news, information, and talk show content – across a wide breadth of topics – has gone up.
For broadcasters, this increased demand has been excellent news. However, one of the biggest challenges to continuing their work remained: few to no sports events. If nothing is happening on the court, field, or track, figuring out what to broadcast is pretty tough. But even so, broadcasters proved that they could find plenty of topics to talk about – and audiences have been happy to watch and listen.
Sports Broadcasters Prove They Know How to Play to Win
When you consider the amount of hard work, talent, skill, and grit that it takes to become a highly successful sports broadcaster, it’s probably not too surprising to hear that the industry has been able to weather the COVID-19 pandemic thus far effectively. Broadcasters, and the networks they work for, have rejected the boundaries that previously existed, expanding how and where they satisfy audience interest.
Already, we see many national, state, and local networks alike begin implementing some of the out-of-the-box measures predicted by Television Business International in March of this year. As they stated, “We are expecting that the next steps for TV companies will include:
- Ramping up children, family, and news TV content sourcing and creation
- Replace live reality, sports, and other event content with previous season replays
- License old catalog to beef-up content line-up for catch-up services
- Embrace new technologies, such as virtual crowds/crowd simulation for live no-crowd sports
- Replace live sports content with previous season replays.
If you’ve recently tuned into your sports network of choice, you’ve probably seen at least a few of the above efforts. Replays of iconic championship series, famous historic games being re-aired, and new content being sourced for coverage.
And now, as sports events start back up, things look pretty different in-person, but for the at-home audience, the classic experience is still mostly preserved. Virtual crowds, simulated crowd noise, and other elements are used to recreate a crowded stadium’s ambiance, even as the stands remain empty due to health restrictions. Players are being instructed in best practices for health and safety, with many opting to wear masks while playing, minimize travel, or make efforts in other ways. Some sports, such as major league baseball, have restructured their season to cut down on traveling risks.
Regardless of how each sport, team, or city has elected to handle playing sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, sports broadcasters have managed to keep up with every twist and turn skillfully. Some have created improvised at-home studios for broadcasting, while others are back in their recently-reopened workplace studios. Many broadcasters aren’t just talking about the latest sports events, but are also covering COVID-19 news related to sports, teams, and players.
All in all, sports broadcasting is showing us all exactly what it takes to successfully hold on during the wild ride that has been the COVID-19 pandemic thus far.
Strengthening Your Hiring Potential as a Future Sports Broadcaster
While the sports broadcasting field at large has done an excellent job of surviving the impact of COVID-19, some changes have made it even more vital to be a standout job candidate. As a result, getting a job as a professional sports broadcaster might be more challenging in the next several years – but with the right preparation, you can be more than ready.
First, seek out a sports broadcasting program that will help you build the skills and knowledge you need to dive into the industry. You can learn everything you need to know about making it as a broadcaster at a sports broadcasting school. Plus, you can potentially gain access to in-demand internships that will help you build valuable experience. Finally, while you’re in school, do everything you can to seek out learning experiences and professional connections to learn and grow.
Start Your Future in Sports Broadcasting at the Media Schools
The Media Schools, located in Ohio, Miami, Colorado, and Illinois allow students to immerse themselves in a dedicated sports broadcasting program, where they can gain a competitive edge as a future job candidate. Here, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the industry and the specific skills required to enter the field upon graduation.
Don’t let today’s uncertain times dictate your future – enroll at the Media Schools, located in Ohio, Miami, Colorado, and Illinois to start pursuing your future as a sports broadcaster today!