The Worst Week to be a Sports Producer

The week of the MLB All-Star game is the absolute worst week to be a Sports Producer

For a sports producer at a regional or national sports network, the most difficult show to produce is a 6pm hour long show during the week. Game highlights from the previous night are too old to use and no new games have generally taken place, you are totally dependent on fresh news and your own creativity to fill an hours worth of programming. Not an easy task.

Now imagine doing a show like that during MLB All-Star week when NOTHING is happening (sorry WNBA). This summer is a bit unique, there is news surrounding the NFL & NBA lockouts and the Women’s World Cup is frankly, awesome. In most years it’s nothing but crickets.

The NFL is in-between OTA’s and training camp, the entire NBA has taken their skills to South beach and the men with the white gloves are carrying the Stanley Cup to various NHL parties around the globe. Even Major League Baseball, the one league actually in action, “suggests” that teams don’t make any major announcements during the All-Star break for fear it will take away from the mid-season classic.

So what is a Sports Producer to do?

Usually a sportscast has a pace to it, created by using various length stories to either speed up or slow down the shows “flow”. For example, an hour long sportscast has a mix of 30 second news stories, a minute or so soundbites, 2 minute analysis/commentaries, some 3-4 minute feature stories — put them all together in a proper manner and you have a well-balanced show with pace.

During the All-Star break a sports producer won’t have many news stories or soundbites to work with, so shows are generally filled with longer feature stories and analysis segments. Too many of these types of segments can make the sportscast seem slow and plodding. Research shows audiences HATE slow and plodding. (OK I made that up, but it is safe to assume nobody likes slow and plodding, right?)

Sports fans in Arizona will have much to talk about this week with the All-Star game in their backyard…the rest of the sports world, not so much.

If you want to be a sports producer this is a great week to watch and learn because the best producers can still make the worst week of the year be energetic and engaging. Watch with a critical eye and take notes -just like a football coach charts plays, chart the sportscasts. Write down the approximate length of each story, what the subject was and from which sport. Then ask at the end of the sportscast, was this producer able to create energy and pace for this show and if so, how did they do it?

Things to Look For

One technique is to have video editors create custom music videos with highlights from the first half of the baseball season or individual players in the All-Star game. Music videos bring energy and keep things moving. Another idea is to create a theme you can carry throughout the show. For example, come in from each commercial break with a short “classic” highlight from previous All-Star games.

Finally, it’s important to broaden the reach of the sportscast. To fill a show with just baseball material gets stale, find creative reasons to talk about other sports.

This is the worst week to be a sports producer, but it’s also the best opportunity to show creativity and an ability to think outside of game highlights.

Find your dream career in Sports! Search 3,000+ Sports Jobs now!
Powered by the #1 Job Board in the Sports Industry

Subscribe / Share

Article by Brian Clapp

Authors bio is coming up shortly. Brian Clapp tagged this post with: , , , , Read 110 articles by
3 Comments Post a Comment
  1. pam says:

    well done clapp, but from what i remember from SI we were not allowed to run previous all-star game video, right?

    • Brian says:

      Pam you are totally right – which again makes this the worst week to be a sports producer. At least at Christmas you have some athlete giving out Christmas trees or Warrick Dunn building someone a house.

      I remember us having a yearly limit on how many “plays of the day” could be baseball. For some reason MLB is very closed-minded when it comes to sharing their product – but they are very good with cease and desist letters.

      I imagine ESPN and Fox have looser regulations on what they can and can’t run since they are broadcast partners, so those ideas were more with them in mind….not our previous world at CNN/Sports Illustrated!

  2. John Mac says:

    Isn’t this also the worst week to be a sports fan? A home run derby that has the allure of paint drying… an All Star game that has even more flaws than the major ones Brian illustrated, then a night when Seth Meyers is hosting the ESPYs… as I said the other day… was Adrian Zmed booked that night? Luckily, the US women will put a few people out of their misery tomorrow.. unless you have to work during the day.

Leave a Reply

Find Sports TV Jobs

Job Category:

Sports TV Jobs Recommended Vendors