In short, your role as a commentator is to help viewers make sense of what they’re watching on our sports streams by talking over a live event.
You will have a lot of information to process (and sometimes someone talking in your ear), all while keeping the event on track and often guiding a guest who may not be as used to commentating.
At YSTV, we will often combine commentary and presenting roles, so for plenty of streams it will be useful to be comfortable with appearing on camera.
The key to making all of this work is preparation, whether that’s making sure you know the rules of a less familiar sport, or the facts about teams and players that your producer will help you put together. The great part about commentary is that you will be off camera during the game, so you can have all the notes and papers you need right in front of you.
The challenge is being knowledgeable and comfortable, without overloading your viewer with information. Make sure to think of questions or things that you could discuss about the game, as this can help make the most out of your guest. A simple open-ended question or throw can give them an opportunity to share their expertise, all while giving you time to reset, before you take the lead in building tension in any particularly dramatic moments.
Prepare, prepare, prepare - by the time we go live you should be comfortable with the game, the background, the teams, and any stories you want to tell
Know what’s happening on the show - there will be graphics to describe, so getting your head around what these will show is important so you know what to add
Don’t overscript - everybody notices if you’re reading from a script, it works at the beginning of a match/half to set the scene, but can distract from the action later on
Enjoy it - your passion really comes across in your voice, and we can’t expect viewers to get excited by what they’re watching if you’re not
Get to know your other commentator - knowing what they know and building a relationship can make all the difference, and help you create the best commentary