Which sport should you write about?

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July 15, 2021
5 minute read

If you’re like many aspiring sports writers, you love all things sports. You’re passionate about them all—from basketball to curling.

But, like many other areas of professional writing, your freelance writing career can benefit from a narrower focus. It’s easier to carve out a successful sports writing career if you niche down and focus on one sport, at least to start.

Once you’ve established yourself as an expert journalist in one vertical, it’s easier to branch out and grow your career in other directions.

So where should you start?

There’s no right answer as to which sport every writer should specialize in—it depends on you. With that said, a few sports are better than others when it comes to breaking in and growing a career.

Things to keep in mind

Before we lay out the best sports to kick off your sports journalism career, let’s talk about some of the things you need to keep in mind when choosing which sport to specialize in.

Pick the sport you know best

No matter which sport has the highest demand for journalists or pays writers the best rates, the most important thing is that you can competently and passionately write about the sport you choose.

Publications and websites don’t want a sports writer who doesn’t know anything about the sport they’re writing about. Even worse, writing about a sport you aren’t really passionate about or interested in is a recipe for burnout and boring writing.

That’s why it’s important to focus on the sport(s) you’re most familiar with first. Writing about what you know and are passionate about will help you land sports writing jobs more easily.

Check licensing rules

Licensing rules and other regulations can make it more or less difficult to pull together a great article on a sport. That’s because certain leagues are a lot stricter on how independent journalists can use their footage, content, brand assets, and more.

For example, the UFC is notoriously strict—blocking any video content from UFC vloggers and writers. Major League Baseball, on the other hand, is much more relaxed about how writers and publications use game highlights and other content.

Focus on growth

No matter which sport you choose to write about, remember that your career will inevitably grow and evolve as you go.

You can choose one sport to help develop your portfolio and brand within the industry and use that experience and authority to shift into another sport you’re more passionate about. You can also follow your passion from one sport or subject matter to another.

The bottom line is that you can always adapt your career based on what’s most interesting to—and profitable for—you as your career progresses.

The best sports for growing a writing career

Okay, here they are! The top 3 sports for aspiring sports writers are (drumroll please)...

  • Soccer
  • American football
  • Baseball


Soccer is the world’s most popular sport. So much so that, when Nielsen ran a survey across 18 global markets back in 2017, 43 percent of respondents said they were “interested” or “very interested” in football. Soccer’s popularity runs across regions, across age groups, and across genders.

Widespread interest in soccer across the globe means the sport—and those working in it—has an international presence. Plus, soccer fans are notoriously passionate, making for high demand for content and news.

American Football

On the flip side, American football is one of the least geographically widespread sports. It lacks the international presence of both soccer and baseball, but it’s consistently ranked as the top sport in the United States—meaning there’s a ton of opportunity for growth.

In fact, football is so popular in the U.S. that it still ranks as the 9th most popular sport globally, despite the limited geographic scope.


Considered America’s favorite pastime, baseball is widely popular—both in the U.S. and in other countries like the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Canada, and Japan.

While popularity is steadily rising among young people in the U.S., baseball historically attracts an older demographic than other popular sports. That’s good news for aspiring writers hoping to work in print because the largest population of baseball fans tend to prefer newspapers and magazines—meaning there’s a lot of opportunity to write for print publications (which often pay higher rates than their digital counterparts).

Plus, with thousands of games played each season, the MLB provides a ton of material to work with.

Successful sports writers and their verticals

There you have it! Now you know how to choose the top sports to write about to launch and grow your career in sports journalism.

Now, we’ll leave you with some of the top sports writers in the business. Writers you can learn from, whose work can inspire you and help you become an even better writer yourself.

Louisa Thomas│staff writer for The New Yorker

Recent work to check out:

Jenny Vrentas│senior writer for Sports Illustrated

Recent work to check out:

Peter Flax│editor-in-chief at The Red Bulletin

Recent work to check out:

Tyler Tynes│staff writer at GQ

Recent work to check out:

Zach Rymer│MLB lead writer for Bleacher Report

Recent work to check out: