How Much Does a Sports Journalist Make? (Plus Job Outlook)

Updated March 21, 2023

Sports journalism provides professionals with the opportunity to combine skills in writing and communication with a passion for sports. This field also has the potential to be a profitable career. If you're interested in a position as a sports journalist, learning about the full scope of their role can help you understand the skills and work required. In this article, we define this career, provide information on how much a sports journalist makes in each state, review the job outlook for this position, list three related careers and offer steps for increasing your earnings.

What is a sports journalist?

A sports journalist is a professional who generates media content on relevant topics and events in sports. They research and report information about athletes, sports regulations, athletic events and sports-related news. A sports journalist can work in print, television, radio and internet media.

Related: How To Become a Sportswriter

What does a sports journalist do?

A sports journalist's primary duties include pitching ideas, researching, writing, interviewing and editing. They work within a publication or content team to brainstorm possible topics for stories and stay up to date on events and news in the sports industry. A journalist may also interview players, managers, referees and other sports professionals to gather sources and quotes for a story.

How much does a sports journalist make?

Here's a list of the average annual salaries of sports journalists in each state. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries please click on the links below:

  • Alabama: $37,849 per year

  • Alaska: $40,825 per year

  • Arizona: $35,459 per year

  • Arkansas: $36,940 per year

  • California: $51,195 per year

  • Colorado: $36,820 per year

  • Connecticut: $41,980 per year

  • Delaware: $39,124 per year

  • Florida: $53,898 per year

  • Georgia: $44,741 per year

  • Hawaii: $39,455 per year

  • Idaho: $36,999 per year

  • Illinois: $35,982 per year

  • Indiana: $30,196 per year

  • Iowa: $34,290 per year

  • Kansas: $37,481 per year

  • Kentucky: $37,107 per year

  • Louisiana: $30,492 per year

  • Maine: $37,991 per year

  • Maryland: $33,088 per year

  • Massachusetts: $43,178 per year

  • Michigan: $33,765 per year

  • Minnesota: $46,792 per year

  • Mississippi: $28,219 per year

  • Missouri: $39,159 per year

  • Montana: $36,962 per year

  • Nebraska: $37,903 per year

  • Nevada: $27,273 per year

  • New Hampshire: $38,742 per year

  • New Jersey: $32,635 per year

  • New Mexico: $38,137 per year

  • New York: $35,191 per year

  • North Carolina: $27,952 per year

  • North Dakota: $38,662 per year

  • Ohio: $38,582 per year

  • Oklahoma: $28,052 per year

  • Oregon: $37,940 per year

  • Pennsylvania: $30,162 per year

  • Rhode Island: $39,705 per year

  • South Carolina: $38,209 per year

  • South Dakota: $31,792 per year

  • Tennessee: $38,604 per year

  • Texas: $42,042 per year

  • Utah: $41,306 per year

  • Vermont: $38,361 per year

  • Virginia: $41,102 per year

  • Washington: $42,273 per year

  • West Virginia: $23,311 per year

  • Wisconsin: $38,040 per year

  • Wyoming: $38,140 per year

What is the job outlook for sports journalists?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the job growth of news analysts, reporters and journalists of all types at 6% from 2020 to 2030. This is about the average rate for all occupations, and the BLS forecasts approximately 5,400 job openings for these roles each year. Openings can also vary by state and can depend on the type of media you pursue, especially as digital content and broadcast become more prominent than print publications.

Related: 20 Jobs for People With a Sports Communication Degree

How to increase your salary as a sports journalist

A sports journalist's salary can vary depending on a wide range of factors. Here are some ways you can increase your salary:

1. Select a job location

The average salaries for sports journalists vary by city and state. Locations and cities that have multiple professional and amateur sports teams offer a higher volume of positions and local publications and may make it easier to earn a position as a freelancer or as part of a content team. Sports journalism typically requires traveling, but the primary location of your job can still affect your salary.

2. Gain experience

Many sports publications look for writers with high levels of experience. Earning experience through freelancing, writing in college publications and internship positions can show employers you know how to write and format articles. It can also demonstrate your ability to generate content ideas. Proving years of experience and previously published pieces can help you get a higher-paying position by showing employers that you already possess the skills they're seeking.

3. Choose a media type

Salary can also fluctuate according to the media form and media channel for which you work. Well-known television or digital content channels typically earn greater profits and have the ability to pay their journalists higher salaries. Some media forms, such as online content, may also provide the professionals with the opportunity for sponsored collaborations and advertisements with brands. Creating digital content and receiving sponsorship deals can increase your earnings, both within an organization or as an independent journalist.

4. Build a reputation

Sports journalists who create popular content can establish themselves as an authority in sports news. Being a well-known journalist with a positive reputation can earn you more invitations to cover and report at live sporting events. This can increase the income you earn since channels or publications may make offers to use and print your content. You can improve your reputation as a reporter by creating large quantities of high-quality sports coverage.

Related: How To Create an Online Writing Portfolio (With Steps)

3 jobs related to sports journalism

Here are three jobs related to sports journalism. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries please click on the links below:

1. Sports editor

National average salary: $33,470 per year

Primary duties: A sports editor is responsible for the content that goes into a sports publication. They lead the writing and editing teams and organize the layout of the publication. An editor's main tasks include proofreading articles, assigning topics, generating ideas and managing content.

2. Sports anchor

National average salary: $36,055 per year

Primary duties: A sports anchor works to deliver and report sports-related news. Anchors typically work in television and broadcast media and appear as on-air personalities. They may also report from live events and interview players, coaches, managers and referees.

3. Sports analyst

National average salary: $41,135 per year

Primary duties: Sports analysts work to provide and communicate sport-related news and insight to a wide variety of media outlets. They may attend and report on live sporting events. Their daily tasks include reporting, researching and analyzing sport-related news and topics.


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