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What does a Basketball Announcer do?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A basketball announcer is a man or woman who gives play-by-play descriptions of a basketball game for live audiences, fans listening on the radio, or television viewers. He or she usually provides additional commentary about players, teams, and statistics during breaks in the action. A basketball announcer is usually very articulate, personable, and knowledgeable about the game. Professionals may cover games at any level of competition, though the majority of announcers work at high school, college, and professional events.

Announcers who offer their services on radio or television provide thorough descriptions of basketball games. Radio announcers describe games in depth so that fans can picture the action as they listen. They enthusiastically give play-by-play reports, explain fouls and violations, and constantly inform listeners of important information, such as the score and how much time is left. Television broadcasters usually describe games in less detail, as viewers are able to visually follow the action themselves. Both television and radio announcers usually have access to season statistics and player descriptions to provide audiences with more detailed information.

Some basketball announcers report on games to live audiences inside a gym or stadium. Their voices are projected over loudspeakers to introduce teams, report scores or fouls, and keep fans informed of important statistics. Some announcers, especially those at the high school level, also operate scoreboards and keep official records of games.

The goal of most announcers is to call games in the most objective manner possible, so that audiences receive accurate information. Some local radio and television stations are directly affiliated with certain teams, and it is often quite obvious that announcers are fans of the teams that they cover. Such announcers must remember that, while it is appropriate to root for their teams, audiences deserve fair coverage and truthful information.

A person who wants to pursue a basketball announcer career has a number of different options to get started in the field. Many announcers begin their careers at local high school events, either reporting statistics to a live audience or radio listeners. After gaining experience and building up a good reputation, a local basketball announcer may have the opportunity to find other work in his or her region. Individuals who want to become announcers at the collegiate or professional level often have college degrees in journalism or broadcasting. A basketball announcer who is able to perform the job well and build a good reputation with fans might be awarded the chance to work for national radio or television broadcasting companies, covering important games for a very large audience.

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Discussion Comments
By Izzy78 — On Jul 14, 2012
@Emilski - I only agree to an extent, and I would have to say that only occurs with the mediocre announcers, as the best in the business with the most talent separate themselves from the rest.

I would also say that as opposed to the story telling baseball announcers the basketball announcers have much more skill as they have to keep their audience intrigued and simply cannot make the same calls over and over for a play that may be run twenty other times during the game.

I really feel like basketball announcers can be a bit underrated as I do not know of many in the National Basketball Hall of Fame.

If anyone can tell me of some basketball announcers in the hall of fame I would be glad to know.

By Emilski — On Jul 13, 2012

@TreeMan - As opposed to observations one would make in a football game, these cannot be done in basketball as all announcing, with the exception of timeout calls, has to completely be focused on the action on the floor and the stories and analysis can be saved for after the game.

I have a feeling this is why there are not near as many famous basketball announcers as there are baseball announcers simply because they cannot add more things into their broadcast and have to focus entirely on the action on the floor.

I guess this means that broadcasts of basketball games can become a little redundant when comparing different announcers as opposed to when one compares baseball announcers, who can allow themselves to become more of individuals with their calls.

By TreeMan — On Jul 13, 2012
@matthewc23 - I absolutely agree with you, and can say that it is very hard to come up with fresh things in a basketball game to say.

Take a baseball game for instance, which has more of an emphasis on filling in the slow times of the games with extras for the audience, which is usually insider information or stories related to past games or players.

The game of basketball does not allow for an announcer to do that simply because of the fast paced nature of the game and lack of time in order to tell those sorts of stories.

Although it probably requires quite a bit of skill to announcer a basketball game I really think that it is probably a lot easier to call it as one sees it as opposed to showing off how much one's knowledge of the game.

By matthewc23 — On Jul 13, 2012

I have to say as far as announcing goes I really think that a basketball announcer has a really tough job in calling the games due to so much action going on.

In a game like baseball, there are slow periods and although one could argue there is more of an emphasis on the memorable call, there is very little in game action as opposed to everything else going on in the game and the same goes for football.

Basketball on the other hand has constant scoring plays that change in variety every time one goes up and down the floor and this requires a lot of skill and creativity from the announcers to make sure that their broadcast keeps the audience interested and does not sound flat and uninspiring.

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