A sports commentator is an expert who reports a live match on radio and/or television in real time. S/he specialises in reporting or commentating on sporting events.
As a sports commentator you’ll help listeners and viewers follow a game or sporting event by describing the events in details and giving your viewpoint. If you love sport and have great communication skills, this may be a career that offers what you’re looking for.
The ability to research sporting facts and statistics will help you to add colour and interest to your commentary.
What do they do?
At the zenith of his career as a national-level diver, Charu Sharma didn’t for once think that he would spend the rest of his life sitting in commentary boxes in cricket stadiums. On friends’ insistence, he applied for a job in Doordarshan during the Asian Games in 1982.
That marked the beginning of his career as a commentator – 27years is how long he has been at it. “I was at the right place at the right time, which got me this job... and that’s very important for anyone wanting to become a commentator, even if he or she happens to be a national-level player,” says Sharma.
He made a conscious effort to improve his language skills. “I took my profession seriously as it was a full-time job and I am the first full-time commentator in Indian cricket.” Also, says Sharma, it’s important for a commentator to be able to analyse the game and comment or suggest techniques and strategies for the way a game is played. Commentary has an altogether different meaning now – it’s not just about narrating the progression of a match ball by ball in cricket, for example, but also entails giving an insight into the game – an expert’s job. Though one should know everything one can about the game sometimes it’s futile to try and mug up age-old statistics which are of no use in today’s game. “While watching a match in 2009, no viewer would want to know about a test which took place 50 years ago. Mugging up data and figures doesn’t help, unless it is meant to offset a lull,” says Sharma.
Even after more than two decades in this line, he still does mock-commentary mentally and takes his passion very seriously. Even a little goof-up can sabotage the entire show.
He also claims to give each match his best shot – whether a district-level tournament or the World Cup. The number of listeners should be inconsequential to a commentator, he says, adding in the same breath that one of his favourite moments relates to a kabaddi match in the 2006 Asian Games, Doha, as it reportedly bolstered the game’s reputation, thanks to Sharma’s commentary.
He also has a words of advice for those who are drawn to sports commentary only because of the glamour. It’s very serious business meant for experts who can understand, analyse and talk about the game with meticulous perfection.
Though opportunities remain few for rank outsiders to enter this arena as most commentators today are former international cricketers, there are few like Padamjeet Sehrawat you can get inspired by. Though he hasn’t played any international matches he got his break after coming second in the talent hunt show Dream Job - Harsha Ki Khoj in 2004. “Chances are few for non-cricketers to enter this arena but if you are good at what you do – like Harsha Bhogle – then a place can be created for you,” says Sehrawat.
Source: HT Horizons
- You must love the sport and follow it religiously
- You should have a thorough knowledge of the game and should love it
- Excellent command over the language
- Good voice, which should be exploited for perfect dialogue delivery
- You should have some visual acceptance, especially in case of commentary on television
How do I get there?
There are very few openings for sports commentators in India. Former national players have relatively brighter chances to make it to the commentary box. You can start from All India Radio or Doordarshan which are usually good platforms. You need a rich, long experience in the sports arena to get hired by a sports channel
Typical day in the life of a Sports Commentator
There is no hour-to-hour schedule for Sports Commentators. Timings are totally dependent on the type of sport you choose to comment on. Generally, your day begins at 6:00 am by reaching the studio and collecting materials so that you are knowledgeable about the particular subject and can articulately convey the necessary information to your audience.
Sports Commentators generally follow a daily schedule, and once the report is completed, prep work for the next day begins. Sports Commentary can be a very fast-paced and unpredictable job, and you must be flexible to improvise under unforeseen circumstances.
Pros & Cons about this career
Entertaining a large audience The privilege of meeting the best athletes in the world High Remuneration
Mentally and physically taxing Unusual work timings Excessive travelling