A sports analyst provides written or verbal commentary on sporting events, athletes, the sports industry and any other matter that affects sports. Typically, this type of analyst is assigned to cover one sport, or even one team within a sport. They also tend to specialize in one type of media, such as television or print.
Professional and amateur sports generate billions in revenue in countries worldwide. The sports industry creates jobs for the athletes, coaches and support staff who are directly involved with games and events. As a type of entertainment, it also drives the creation of media positions for people to report on and discuss the industry. The position of sports analyst is one of the many types of media positions that exist because of a demand for sports-related information that goes beyond the specifics of individual competitions.
News outlets hire sports analysts to cover teams, a particular sport or the industry as a whole. The type of work he does depends on a number of factors. One factor is whether the analyst works for a team or an independent news agency. Another is the primary type of media the analyst works in. Still another is whether the sports analysts reaches a regional or national audience.
Generally, a sports analyst provides context and insight into aspects of the sports industry, either in writing or verbally. In many ways, an analyst is also an entertainer. He is typically hired to bring a unique perspective or personality to the media coverage. At the most basic level, a sports analysts watches a sporting event, prepares commentary and delivers the commentary on air or in print. The analyst must have expert-level knowledge of the sport he covers, including a grasp of the historical context and the underlying statistics that define the competition.
Those basic tasks are only the bare minimum duties of a sports analysts, however. Analysts often have to conduct interviews, answer questions themselves and travel with the teams or events they cover. They can also make special appearances and host events. Some analysts interact directly with the public.
When sports analysts are employed in different contexts, the scope of their duties often changes. For example, analysts who are employed by media outlets that are owned or controlled by the teams covered are usually expected to provide favorable commentary, while analysts who work for independent outlets can take a more critical perspective. Whether the sports analyst delivers his commentary on television, radio or in print also impacts his job duties. Television analysts, for example, have to be concerned with how they look on screen and must often deliver the same commentary more than once to perfect a camera shot. In the same vein, sports analysts with a national audience are expected to have more comprehensive knowledge than regional analysts.