The faces of Jalen Rose, Barry Melrose, Dan Marino and other former professional players and coaches grace television screens for top networks such as ESPN and CBS. Because of their experience and expertise, they receive competitive salaries as sports analysts with high visibility. With a number of players and sports executives retiring or getting fired each year, a career as a sports analyst offers the opportunity to remain in the sports industry with solid pay.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual salary for sports analysts at £22,652, as of 2008, with the middle 50 per cent earning between £16,744 and £33,904. However, these figures also include the salaries of news reporters and correspondents. The salaries of first time sports analysts for major networks can be in the six-figure to million dollar salary range.
Realities of the Business
Because network executives often hire analysts based on name and reputation, how much new analysts earn can depends on their accomplishments in their respective sports. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock, in a December 2010 article for ESPN, notes how he was dropped after obtaining a game analyst position with CBS. Former NFL superstar wide receiver Chris Carter replaced former ESPN football studio analyst Sean Salisbury in 2008. In a February 2008 article for The Huffington Post, Salisbury stated that he felt his pay was less than other analysts because he was not a superstar player.
Former National Football League and Super Bowl wining football coach John Gruden joined ESPN's "Monday Night Football" in September of 2009 and received a multiyear, multimillion dollar contract extension in November of 2010. Gruden joins coaches such as Jeff Van Gundy and Hubie Brown of the National Basketball Association -- all who command massive salaries upon entering the profession because of their name and reputation -- earn salaries comparable enough to their former coaching salaries. The high pay keeps them in the broadcast booth for far less hours than the stressful life of a coach.
Studio analysts sit behind desks and provide commentary about games, players and the hottest topics related to their sports. They may work for networks such as ESPN, the NHL network, the NFL network and broadcast television networks. After a successful career in the NFL, Michael Strahan joined Fox sports in 2008 as a studio analyst earning £1.3 million annually. In 2007, former NFL star Tiki Barber joined NBC's "Football Night in America" for a salary between £1.6 million and £1.9 million dollars annually.