Industry Insider returns with a fantastic guest from one of the leading broadcasters in the UK! We sat down with Ed Draper of Sky Sports to talk all about his career!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My name is Ed Draper and my main job is presenter on Sky Sports News in London. I also do some boxing and MMA presenting and writing for Sky and some freelance work on the side for other companies. I produce and present a podcast called Sport and Life, which is basically me speaking to people about their stories and thoughts on life.
I’ve held numerous presenting, producing, writing and reporting roles in sport over the past 15 years – for TV, radio, online and print.
What do you do in your current role?
I present live TV, reading autocue, interviewing guests and pundits and updating live sport. Usually we’re on air for 2-3 hours in the Covid era (it was longer pre pandemic, but we had two presenters on at a time). I come in three hours or so before going on air to prepare – for example, teams news, teams’ form etc. We have to be switched onto the sports news pretty much 24/7 and stay in touch with key people in sport.
What does a normal week look like for you?
I do four ‘anti-social’ shifts a week, often ‘lates’, coming off air shortly after midnight. I tend to work every Sunday, but the others days are different each week and each shift varies according to the amount of sport on.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
When I didn’t make it as a professional in sport, I saw sports journalism as the next best career. I’ve always loved sport since I could walk, so being close to it felt like a dream come true. English was also my second favourite subject, so I studied English and Sports Science at Loughbroough University and then went on to do a Masters in Journalism in Ohio University. Between the ages of 19-23, in the UK and then the USA, I pursued a lot of part-time opportunities in tv, magazines. newspapers, radio and online in that time. Most of it was unpaid.
I then worked my way as a freelancer through local BBC Radio, sports websites, satellite TV channels, hosting the odd sports event too. I just took whatever opportunity I could to practice the reporting/presenting craft and wound up at Sky where I’ve worked across several departments over the past 15 years.
What’s been your favourite moment whilst working in sports?
Probably announcing Anthony Joshua as Olympic Champion at the London Excel in 2012. A very special day, particularly as a boxing fan.
What do you think is next for your industry?
Seventeen years ago we were talking about media convergence at my journalism school. That process is probably reaching its key phase now – TV. radio, online will all become essentially the same platform in my opinion. Eg a Youtube channel is available on your TV. You can listen to podcasts, watch live TV, listen to the radio on your phone.
On your podcast you talk to a wide variety of people, what was the inspiration behind starting it?
I worked on a new sports podcast in 2008 at Virgin/Absolute Radio and then hosted Sky’s boxing podcast for several years. I really missed the format and relaxed feel of just chatting to people. Plus it’s nice to talk about what I fancy rather than having to pitch ideas through a gatekeeping process.
Are there any sports you’ve grown to love since you joined Sky Sports?
I’d say I’ve had to be more aware of ‘saloon’ sports like darts, pool and ten-pin bowling and have worked on them. Also we cover American sports, including the NFL and NBA, which has allowed me to reawaken my interest in those (from my days living in the States).
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Treat whatever avenue you wish to pursue like learning a sport. Get as much practice as you can. Lots of repetitions. Get quality feedback. And always try and enjoy it.
On a more serious note, if you don’t want to work weekends or evenings (which is fine, most people don’t!) it’s probably not the line of work for you as that’s when sport happens.
How to follow Ed Draper on social media…
Thanks for reading Industry Insider with Ed Draper! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.