Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport! We’re speaking to Football Commentator, Adam Summerton. 


Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously? 

I’m a football commentator working in TV. I’ve been working full-time in radio and TV since 2003, having graduated from university with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. For a long time I worked as a radio reporter/newsreader, which gave me a good grounding in broadcasting. I’ve also worked as a radio presenter, tv presenter and voiceover artist.


What do you do in your current role?

 I commentate on football for several broadcasters including BT Sport & Prime Video Sport, covering lots of competitions, including the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, National League, WSL, FA Cup, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 – there’s plenty of variety. 


What does a normal week look like for you?

An average, or typical work week would include around three live games – it can be more, it can be less, it just depends on what’s going on. The majority of my work time is spent doing prep/research – I also have to travel quite a lot to and from games. 


How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?

I realised very quickly that if you want to ‘make it’ in this industry you have to be prepared to work very hard, be very dedicated and make sacrifices – so I did all that and just worked my way up from the bottom basically. I started off at a temporary radio station in a supermarket car park and learnt my trade step by step over a number of years – going from local radio to regional radio etc.

It was in my first permanent job as a news reporter that the boss suggested I try football commentary and it was at that point that I knew I wanted to eventually do this full-time, although it took me more than a decade to get to that point. I worked in newsrooms, and combined that with covering football on weekends for a variety of broadcasters.

My first steps into TV were for club channels, and I eventually got opportunities on TV world feed coverage of various overseas leagues, and began working for BT Sport upon their launch in 2013. I continued to combine football work with newsroom duties for a little while longer, before becoming a commentator full-time.


What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?

It might sound like a cop out answer, but I genuinely get the most excitement just from being able to cover the sport I love for a living. But being involved in anything from the beginning has always appealed to me, so I was delighted to work for BT Sport right from launch – I take a real pride in being a small part of something that I think continues to be both successful and innovative.

Being part of the first Prime Video Sport Premier League broadcasts was also really pleasing – the concept of an online broadcaster covering multiple games at the same time is obviously a new one to the UK market and I think the hugely positive reaction to it shows there is a great appetite for this. How that grows and develops going forward is clearly interesting and exciting. The use of new technology in TV is something that always presents opportunities, the advent of 5G in that respect is both exciting and significant.


What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?

Do as much work experience as possible – vary it too. It is so important to be multi-skilled & versatile, and to be seen/heard. Be prepared to work long days for little pay while you establish yourself and learn your trade. Be organised, do your research, prep meticulously, be observant, think on your feet and outside the box, always be thinking of a new angle, better ways of doing things. 

Most of all, enjoy it. 

You can follow Adam Summerton on social media…

Twitter: @adamsummerton

Thanks for reading our Industry Insider feature with Football Commentator, Adam Summerton!