Five Tips for Covering Sports

July 20, 2015

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When writing about sports and money, reporters need to get creative. Instead of giving play-by-plays, you’ll be looking for stories that take place behind the scenes. Here are our top five tips for reporting on sports:

1. Strive for accuracy, not speed.

Sports are a fast-paced, but your story shouldn’t be. Worry more about getting the story straight than getting it out first. Dedicated fans can hold a grudge and you don’t want to be caught making false claims or accusations.

2. Keep up with SEC filings.

SEC filings can be very telling when it comes to sports relationships. Check into a particulars team’s filings when you hear something strange regarding their business or management negotiations.

3. Go to the courts.

Similar to the SEC filings, looking up court records can offer a peek into what kinds of trouble a team has been in. Specifically, you can check financial records and whether they’ve ever been sued. You can also use GuideStar or the IRS to get a hold of documents a team is wary of handing over.

4. Find the business angle.

The difference between your story and game coverage lies in your ability to discern what affects fans and their franchise. Get to know profit and loss statements and whom the team works with. For sources, look to fans, owners, chief financial officers and investors.

5. Be nice to the assistants.

Assistants, or the “movers and shakers” as the Arizona Republic’s Craig Harris calls them, run the sports world. They have incredible access to important people and are usually aware of who you are, what your publication is like and what your deadline looks like. Be kind and courteous if you want them to help.

Want more? Download our “Guide to Business Beat Basics” for tips on covering money in sports and other beats.