Players play for a championship. To win that last game of the season, to raise a trophy above their head and to raise a banner in their home venue. Broadcasters live to call that moment, to have that one iconic call that’ll be forever linked with that moment in time. A championship broadcast is something that many sportscasters never get to experience, however when it comes around it’s good to be prepared.
Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated recently penned a fantastic article that looks at several of sportscasting’s biggest names and how they handle the championship call and the chaos and unpredictability of a trophy presentation. Centred around the NBA playoffs, Deitsch speaks with Doris Burke, Jim Nantz and Ernie Johnson detail what really happens before, during and after the post-championship trophy celebration broadcast.
The assignment offers a unique brand of crazy: You are standing on a makeshift staging area, usually in the middle of a massive arena or stadium. A national audience is watching you on television or via digital media, and the crowd inside the arena can hear every word you are saying. Sure, your producer is in your ear, but you are flying solo up here given all the chaos around you. Your subjects are often elated, which is good. But if the title takes place on the floor or field of an opponent, there will be no energy in the building. You also have maybe two or three questions, tops, for each subject. You better make them count, or social media will have a field day.
“I love my job, but the trophy presentation assignment makes me nervous,” said ESPN’s Doris Burke, one of the best in the business at this unique part of sports broadcasting. “I love the game of basketball, and it has shaped my life since I was seven years old. But as a broadcaster it took me a good 10 to 15 years to relax and allow myself to enjoy the job. You get a little more comfortable each time you have that trophy assignment, but there is a responsibility there. You want to give the fans the information they are curious about, and also honor the achievement that these people on the floor have been fortunate enough to do. It makes me very nervous, to be honest.”
To read the full article, click here.