14 freelance sports writing jobs for beginners
Are you a sports fan who loves to write? If so, sports writing might be the perfect way to make a living by combining your passion with your talent.
It’s a growing popular culture niche, making it possible for beginner freelance writers to break into it. To help kickstart your sports writing career, here are some tips for getting started. You’ll also find some of the best freelance sports writing jobs for beginners.
What is a sports writing job?
A sportswriter crafts material about sporting events, players, coaches, and other topics related to sports. They might interview players, write a recap of a local ball game, or dive into player stats and make predictions.
While you’re probably familiar with the sports page in the newspaper, that’s not the only place you’ll find these types of articles. You can also find them in:
- Online publications
- Press releases
- Social media
Sports journalists cover all types of activities. They write about football and basketball, but also cover golf, cycling, and more. You’ll find these writers at local high school games and events at the professional level.
This means there are loads of possibilities, so start thinking about what type of material you’d like to create.
What skills do you need to be a sportswriter?
To succeed as a sports writer, you obviously need to have a knowledge of sports and enjoy the culture. If you aren’t a true fan, your readers will be able to tell. You’ll also likely get burned out, since it’s a lot harder trying to write engaging articles about a topic you couldn’t care less about.
While you might be an expert in one type of sport (such as football), you must have a basic knowledge of all major competitions. You also may not be able to write exclusively about your favorite sport, so being open to others can help you succeed. There are many sports to write about, so try getting experience with at least a few different ones.
In addition to being a sports fanatic, you must be a good writer. People don’t want to read material that’s full of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes.
Those two things are essential qualifications for these types of jobs. However, they’re not the only requirements. You should also be:
- Punctual: A freelance writer in this niche maintains crucial deadlines. People want to read about sporting events right after they occur, not days or weeks afterward. You’ll need to create content quickly and get it submitted on time.
- Thick-skinned: There are so many opinions surrounding this niche. Not everyone will like what you say, so you shouldn’t take comments personally.
- Collaborative: You’ll be working with others. This could be a team of other writers and editors or figures in the sporting world. Either way, if you don’t play well with others, this isn’t the job for you.
- Willing to cover events: If you’re looking for an online writing gig so that you never have to leave your home, you may want to select a different niche. Most writers are eventually asked to attend the game, so travel could be in your future.
- A good communicator: Since you’ll be working with others and expressing yourself in writing, good communication skills are vital.
Each company may also have specific requirements. For instance, some may want you to have a degree in communication or journalism or previous experience. Make sure you read the job ads you apply for. This helps improve your chances of landing a job.
Pros and cons of being a sportswriter
Sports writing isn’t for everyone. Just like any job, there are good and bad aspects.
Pros of sports writing
You get paid to create content on a subject you’re passionate about. You also have an excuse to watch any game, since you’re doing it for work.
Additionally, it’s a job that won’t feel too monotonous and boring. You can write about a variety of games and create different types of content. This keeps things feeling fresh, and can help reignite your passion for your job.
Though many full-time sportswriter jobs require you to live in large cities such as New York, NY, San Diego, CA, Phoenix, AZ, or Washington DC, you can find freelance positions all across the United States. It’s fairly flexible.
Also, you can write about professional sports or up-and-coming high school stars. It's a broad niche, with room for lots of writers in almost any area.
You’ll also get to interact with others, so it won’t be a lonely position. You may have the chance to interview famous players, talk to inspiring coaches, or get advice from other writers. Most companies want a team player who can get out and build relationships. You won’t be working behind a cubicle all of the time.
Cons of sports writing
Though there are many good things about sports writing, there are also some downsides. For instance, if you’re covering a game, you probably won’t be able to enjoy it with family and friends. Instead, you’ll be keeping track of the stats, monitoring plays, and taking notes to incorporate into your writing.
This means that game nights, or sports in general, might not be as leisurely as they once were. It will be your responsibility to watch plays with a critical eye, not as something you do just to relax.
Increasing the stress is the need to turn in great content soon after the game is over. There are crucial deadlines to provide your content to your client, so you'll need to work quickly.
Another challenging part about sports writing may be the pay. Many sites that accept contributors pay low rates. Others don’t pay anything at all. You’ll need to read the guidelines carefully to avoid surprises about payments.
How do you find sports writing jobs?
As a freelance writer, it's your responsibility to find each sportswriter position you desire. To grow your business, make sure you keep looking for work even after you land your first client. By continuing to market yourself for at least a couple of hours per week, you can get your name out and secure more work. That way, you don't end up stuck in the dreaded freelance feast and famine cycle.
To help you find a continuous stream of clients, here are four ideas to try.
1. Search job boards
Make it a point to frequently peruse job boards and apply for the gigs you’re interested in. Here are several freelance writing job boards to help you find work:
- Blogging Pro
- Freelance Writing
- Freelance Writing Gigs and its job board
- All Freelance Writing
You can also search for job ads on general job boards, such as:
If you set up an account on these sites, you can usually upload your resume. This makes it easy to apply for a variety of positions.
Craigslist can also be a potential source of gigs. You can check in both the “gigs” and “jobs” sections. If your local Craigslist doesn’t have much, change the location to New York, NY, Washington DC, or Los Angeles, CA. These larger metropolitan areas often have more potential.
Set up job alerts to make sure you don’t miss any potential gigs. This way, you’re notified when a freelance sportswriter position comes up. A job alert makes it easy for job seekers to find what they're looking for without spending hours reviewing new job listings.
2. Cold pitch companies
If you’re already familiar with the local sports industry, a local company might be your best bet for your first gig. Contact your local newspaper, and see if it hires freelance writers to cover the sports beat in your city.
Are there any colleges in your town? You can see if one of them needs content for its athletics website or help covering events in your area. You can also reach out to local teams. Ask if they need a new writer to tackle press releases or manage their social media.
However, don't feel limited to local companies. Reach out to companies in Washington DC, New York, NY, San Diego, CA, Phoenix, AZ, and other major sports towns. You never know which company might need some additional help.
You can use cold pitching templates when asking for a job to boost your success rates and simplify the process.
3. Search on Google
Job seekers can find job ads for sports writing through Google searches. Try using the following search terms to find relevant results:
Then scroll through the results to see what positions you have the knowledge and experience to succeed at.
4. Search on freelance writing employer bids sites
Freelance employer bids sites such as Upwork or Freelancer can be potential sources of writing gigs, so consider creating an account on each of them. If you see a job you’re interested in, send in a bid. Make sure you include your resume and any additional material employers request.
You’ll be competing against the other applicants, so make sure your pitch clearly explains why you’re the best writer for the job. Also, let the employers know you can submit your stories on time. It’ll show them that you understand the importance of deadlines.
How much do sportswriter jobs pay?
According to Salary.com, the average sportswriter in the United States earns $36,384 per year. However, this rate varies greatly depending on your experience, education, and writing abilities.
If you take a full- or part-time sports writing job with a business, you can expect to earn a salary that’ll likely be in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. If you prefer to be your own boss and work as a freelancer, you’ll work out payment arrangements with your clients on a per-post, per-word, or per-hour basis.
Going this route means you have the potential to earn even more, especially if you work with multiple clients and have income coming in from different streams. Still, you’ll need to set aside money for taxes and any business expenses you have.
What types of sports writing jobs are available?
Now that you know more about sports writing, let’s look at some of the possible gigs you can get. You can use each job type as a search term to help you find open positions.
1. Online sportswriter jobs
There are lots of online publications that hire freelance writers. Here are a few of the best opportunities for beginners.
If you have a firm grasp of online writing and a love for sports, you can apply to work with one of the numerous sites FanSided manages. You can select between pay-per-piece and pay-per-pageview options.
Is football the sport you love? If so, you might be a great contributor to Athlon Sports. Though its pay rate isn’t specified, contributors are paid. You’ll want to work out the details with the editor.
SB Nation has a vast reach, with over 300 different websites and millions of followers. It’s a great resume builder for your sports writing career. To apply, you’ll want to check its parent company (Vox Media) and scroll down to the SB Nation section.
If you love wrestling, try becoming a contributor to TheSportster. It’s looking for solid writers to contribute to its Wrestling News or Wrestling Lists categories. If accepted, you’ll get paid and receive a byline on your articles.
Last Word on Sports (LWOS)
Whether you want to write about sports news, provide analysis of games, share your opinion, or hash out some rumors, there’s room for your work over at LWOS. It offers a remuneration program based on views, so the more popular your content is, the more you get paid.
If you’re into sports video games and the gaming industry, be a contributor to Screen Rant. With Screen Rant, you’ll get credit for your work as a freelance writer and also get paid.
You can be a game reviewer, write about the best sports games, and more. It’s an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in the gaming culture who wants to combine their sports and video games knowledge.
2. Sports copy editor
If you’re a pro at catching grammatical errors and can see a typo quickly, a job in sports editing might be in your future. You work with companies to proofread and edit their material before it goes live.
Some sports copy editors also oversee a team and plan the content calendar for the company. It can be a great step up in the world of sports writing.
You can find sports writing editor jobs with a variety of companies. To see which ones are hiring, use a site such as Indeed or SimplyHired. If you set up a job alert, you won't miss any possible openings.
3. Sports magazine writer
Many magazines hire freelance sportswriters to create content. Here are a few that you can send a query to.
If you enjoy trail running, make sure you send a query to this magazine. There’s a digital and a print publication. You can write featured articles about running destinations, race reports, and more. It also accepts shorter pieces in the 800- to 1,200-word range.
The Sports Digest
Can you create short (300 to 500 words) articles about sports? If yes, send a pitch to The Sports Digest. It accepts posts about athlete development, ethical matters related to sports, sports governance, and other relevant topics.
Adventure Cyclist pays $0.25 to $0.50 per word for articles related to cycling. This publication accepts work from freelancers for two different categories: first-person tour accounts and essays about a singular experience while biking.
If climbing is your sport of choice, check out the submission guidelines for Gripped. It pays $150 to $200, depending on the length and category. This publication does use Canadian grammar, so if you’re in the United States, you'll need to review your article carefully before submitting it.
A magazine for sporting officials, Referee accepts posts from contributors for feature and sports-specific stories and its columns. The pay is typically $0.03 per word. However, you’ll need to work out the details with your editor.
The Chronicle of the Horse
Equestrian sports are growing in popularity. If you enjoy writing about them, pitch the editors at The Chronicle of the Horse. This publication frequently works with freelancers to generate content about horse news or horse feature stories. Payment ranges from $150 to $400 per article.
If you’re a soccer fan, send a pitch to FourFourTwo. This magazine accepts pieces from freelance writers for several different columns. There’s also the potential to publish work on its website. If FourFourTwo commissions your work, you’ll work closely with an editor to get it in tip-top shape before it gets printed.
When Saturday Comes
The editors of When Saturday Comes put together a comprehensive set of writer’s guidelines. So if you’re interested in writing about soccer, you’ll want to check it out. Payment is typically £75 for 750-word articles.
4. Sports copywriter
Good copy sells. If you’re a copywriter who loves athletics, try to find a position that allows you to put your persuasive writing skills to work. Companies that sell sports products or services would be happy to have you on board. You can occasionally find these positions on job boards, though your best bet is a cold pitch. You can pitch:
- Sporting good stores
- Sports camps
- Sporting wear companies
- Fantasy sports leagues
You can create ad copy, social media posts, email marketing campaigns, and more.
5. Local sports journalist
Your own city newspaper can be an excellent way to land your first freelance sports writing gig. Don't worry if it doesn't have the readership of a larger newspaper such as the San Diego Union-Tribune or The New York Times. It’s often easier to get started with a small-town newspaper because you don’t have as much competition.
Contact the editor to see if they hire freelance writers to provide sports stories. Since you’re local, you can cover the games in town and write an analysis of them. If you can take decent sports photos as well, this can be a nice upsell for the newspaper.
6. Sports multimedia journalist
If you enjoy writing about sports and capturing the game’s highlights through photography, a job as a sports multimedia journalist could be in your future. In this position, you’ll prepare sports coverage for publication in the newspaper or on television. Your client may also ask you to cover stories that aren’t about sports, so make sure you’re flexible.
To find these positions, go to the career section of a media company (such as FOX Corporation) and search for careers as a sports multimedia journalist. Don't limit yourself to the major media powerhouses. Search for openings with smaller companies, such as Woodward Community Media.
General job boards also occasionally have this job type posted, so add this one to your job alert system.
7. Sports betting writer
Do you have a deep understanding of sports betting, game predictions, and other similar topics? Consider becoming a sports-betting writer. This could also include sportsbook ticket writer jobs.
To help you get started in this field, here are a few publications to consider writing for:
Sports Betting Dime (SBD)
If you’re an expert on all things odds analysis, apply to be a contributor to SBD. It’s looking to expand its sports writing crew by hiring new team members who are experts in the NFL, golf, MMA, NBA, and more. It covers just about any sport, so it could be a great fit no matter where your passion lies.
QL Gaming Group
Are you well-versed in the art of betting? QL Gaming Group hires sportswriters to tackle this subject. Rates aren’t listed on the website, so ensure you verify the terms with the editor before you accept.
Though this website has a fairly low pay rate ($5 to $10 per article), it can be a great way to build up your writing portfolio. The site asks for articles in the 500- to 700-word range. It accepts posts about all major sports leagues, as long as your post relates to the gambling industry.
Sports Bet Listing (SBL)
If you’re passionate about sports and know how to successfully bet as well, apply to join the SBL’s team of paid writers. This company has precise pitching directions, so make sure you read them carefully before reaching out.
While this publication doesn’t only cover sports, the company is looking to add additional sports betting writers to its lineup. To succeed, you must have technical competency, strong writing skills, and a passion for the industry.
In this role, you’ll create a variety of resources to help sports bettors succeed. This could include a roundup of betting sites, strategy guides, betting picks, and more.
8. Sports anchor
If you don’t mind going live on the air, consider becoming a sports anchor. Before you get in front of the camera, you have to prepare for your segment in writing.
In this role, you need to interview players and coaches, have a general knowledge of all sports you cover, and become the face of the program. You can find openings by searching the careers page of your local stations. They’re also occasionally posted on sites such as ZipRecruiter or Indeed.
9. Sports social media coordinator
If you’re passionate about sports and understand how social media works, you can get paid to create sports-related social media posts. In this role, you interact with others online to help build a following and manage your client’s online presence.
You can often find these positions on job boards, so make sure to set up a job alert, so you always see new openings. Cold pitching sports-related companies without a good social media presence can also help you land work.
10. Fantasy sportswriter
Fantasy teams are rapidly growing in popularity. These websites need writers to create material for publication. While many of these sites don’t pay writers, there are a few that do.
Here are some potential sites to pitch:
This company is looking for fantasy football writers who have at least seven years of experience playing. Read the job description for details, and then you can apply by filling out the application form on the website.
You can apply for a paid position with RotoBaller. Writers work closely with the editing team to create content that’s helpful to readers. The use of advanced stats is essential, so make sure you understand how to integrate stats into your writing before you apply.
Want to write about fantasy football or baseball? You can do that for The Scorecrow. While you won’t get paid per piece, the site offers quarterly payouts per 1,000 views, cumulative.
11. Sports tech writer
As technology evolves, sports and sports coverage changes as well. Tech sportswriters stay up to date on the intersection of sports and technology. They examine how sports teams use technology to stay in touch with their fans or how new tech can help players gain skills.
12. Sports staff writer
While not as flexible as many freelance positions, many companies hire staff writers to cover sports. In this role, you’ll be assigned topics to write about and have strict deadlines to meet.
To find these positions, connect with your newspapers and television stations to see if they have any openings.
13. Sports blogger
You can start your own blog dedicated to sports. Then as you grow your readership, you can earn money through affiliate links, ads, and other monetization techniques. You can also guest blog for established sports blogs. Here are a few to pitch:
While contributors to this website aren’t paid, it can be a great way to get backlinks and exposure. Additionally, this company does hire writers occasionally. So if you enjoy blogging about soccer, it might be an excellent opportunity for some paid work.
You can occasionally write articles for this site as a guest columnist or become a regular writer with a contract. The editor will discuss remuneration for your posts with the editor. Per-month or per-article terms are typical.
This website is searching for more football (soccer) writers and editors. It has a variety of intern and paid positions available. While you’re waiting on your blog to get up and running, this can be a good option for generating some income.
14. Sporting events writer
If you can complete sports stories in a timely manner, you can find a position that allows you to cover sporting events. In this job, you'd go to the game and watch it. Then, you'd quickly write your article and submit it for publication. If you aren't comfortable working with tight deadlines, it may be better to consider other types of sports writing jobs.
Get paid as a sports fan
With so many freelance sports writing jobs available, you’re sure to find something that’d be a good fit for you as a sports fan. So pick one and give it a try. Your future career as a sportswriter is waiting for you.