Numerous television (TV) networks are devoted entirely to sports, and much of the programming consists of telecasts of live events. A sports producer is responsible for taking all of the disparate elements of a sports telecast and coordinating them into a coherent whole, all while making sure the broadcast meets the high technological standards of modern broadcasting and entertains the broadest possible audience. Typically, the basic duties of a sports producer include coordinating coverage with the sports director, guiding replays and graphics, and creating story packages that can help round out coverage.
There is little seen during the broadcast of a live sporting event that does not fall either under the direct or indirect supervision of a TV sports producer. A producer works side-by-side with the director as the two most crucial components of the production team. The best way to describe the relationship between the two jobs is that the director is in charge of implementing all of the different components of the broadcast and those components are usually prepared in advance by the producer.
A manifestation of the sports producer's control over a televised sporting event is the way the game is broadcast by the announcers. The producer keeps in constant contact with the announcers via a headset radio, and he or she keeps them abreast of all they need to know during the event to make their call of the action flow as smooth as possible. A producer will let them know when they need to take time out for a commercial break, what graphics or replays may be showing on the screen that need to be described, when it is time to make a promotional announcement, or any other pertinent information to help the broadcast.
The sports producer also comes up with extra content that is used to enhance the live action and create a well-rounded telecast. This extra content often comes in the form of pretaped packages that are pertinent to the event, and the producer usually supervises the interviews and shooting of accompanying video that make up these packages. In addition, the producer may also decide to enhance the telecast with special effects that can range from high-tech graphics to special video technology, or even computer animation. All elements typically need to adhere to a budget that has been determined by the televising network — the sports producer usually makes sure this is the case.
In assembling all of these elements, the sports producer also has to have a feel for how the event is playing out. Deviation from the broadcast plan might sometimes be warranted. In that case, quick thinking and planning can help a sports producer salvage what could otherwise become a lackluster broadcast effort.