With the glut of television news and sports reports, the ebullient TV sports reporter with a passion for his sport often enjoys the largest audience. Competition is intense in the sports arena, so TV sports reporters must aggressively pursue the most interesting stories for viewers. A degree in journalism can get you started in the field, but you'll also need to create your own unique style of reporting. If you succeed, you can expect to earn an annual salary above $50,000.
Salary and Qualifications
Top TV sports reporters can earn millions of dollars annually. Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Joe Buck and Jim Nanz earned about $5 million in 2012, according to Sports Business Journal. The typical TV sports journalist made far less, however. TV sports reporters earned average annual salaries of $55,000 as of 2013, according to the job website Simply Hired. To work in this field, you must have at least a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications. Employers may also prefer that you have at least two years of experience in broadcast journalism. Other essential requirements include a sound knowledge of your sport, objectivity, stamina, persistence and communication and people skills.
Salary by Region
In 2013, average salaries for TV sports reporters varied significantly within the four U.S. regions. In the South region, they earned the highest salaries of $86,000 in Washington, D.C., and the lowest of $43,000 in Mississippi, according to Simply Hired. Those in the West made between $44,000 and $62,000 per year, respectively, in Montana and California. If you worked as a sports reporter in the Northeast, you'd earn $49,000 to $66,000, respectively, in Maine or Massachusetts. In the Midwest, your annual salary would range from $43,000 to $58,000, respectively, in South Dakota or Minnesota.
You may earn more as a TV sports reporter working for a cable TV station than a network television company -- Fox, CBS or ABC. For example, reporters and correspondents earned average annual salaries of $58,280 at cable TV stations as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- versus $50,640 working for network television stations. Your salary is also likely to be higher in a major market like New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago rather than a small town. Big cities draw much larger crowds to major sporting events because of their size, which positively impacts TV sports reporters' salaries. That's why many sports reporters gain experience in small markets and then use their credentials to land higher-paying jobs in larger cities.
Through 2020, the BLS only projects an 8-percent increase in jobs for reporters -- including TV sports reporters -- correspondents and broadcast news analysts, slower than the 14-percent growth rate for all occupations. Job growth among all reporters has slowed because of consolidations among news organizations and networks. On the other hand, global sports revenue should increase 5.6 percent in 2013, according to Price Waterhouse Cooper's projections at Academia.edu. This added income may boost job opportunities for TV sports writers.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts: Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Reporters and Correspondents
- Studio One: Sports Reporter
- GCI: Sports News Reporter/Anchor
- Simply Hired: Average TV Sports Reporter Salaries
- Simply Hired: Average TV Sports Reporter Salaries in ME and MA
- Simply Hired: Average TV Sports Reporter Salaries in MT, AK and CA
- Simply Hired: Average TV Sports Reporter Salaries in MS and DC
- Sports Business Journal: Tough Talk
- Academia.edu: The Outlook For the Global Sports Market to 2013
- Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images