Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our guest is Salford Red Devils’ Media & TV Producer, Emma Butler!

Emma Butler Anfield


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

My name is Emma Butler and I’ve been a part of Salford Red Devils’ media department since 2019 pre-season. My current role as Media and RDTV Producer covers a wide variety of jobs throughout the club. I also work as a freelancer for Shooting Shark Productions as part of the 606 radio production team on BBC 5 live. I had previously volunteered as media staff for non-league football clubs in the past and focussed on sports news coverage during my time at the University of Salford.

My role at Salford has changed overtime which has allowed me to explore my strengths and weaknesses and grow alongside the club throughout the incredible 2019 season. I started out as a volunteer for the club, focussing on photography and an extra pair of hands for matchdays and events, before becoming a full-time member of the media team in which I ran the club’s social media and website – my first day on the job being the incredible 36-12 away win at Warrington!

I have since set up Red Devils TV (RDTV), the club’s TV channel to give fans and subscribers a more in-depth look into the club and our players. The channel covers past games, features, interviews, community projects and match day action from all areas for the fans to enjoy. This means that my main priority now is creating engaging and informing content and spend most of my time at the club walking around with a camera and a tripod in my hand (usually annoying players for interviews and features), or sitting in front of my laptop editing. As Salford is a community club, I work very closely with our sponsors, fans and community to try and bring out the best and show what the city, as well as the club, has to offer.

As we only have a small team at Salford, the club have a very hands-on approach where we all help each other out. This has given me the opportunity to branch out of my comfort zone to assist and learn more about other areas of the business such as marketing and events.

The 2019 season was probably one of the best seasons to have joined the club and some of the highlights for me would’ve been working at Anfield for the Dacia Magic Weekend (a lot of our Salford fans would disagree with my bias towards Liverpool!), THAT semi-final away game against Wigan Warriors and of course working at Old Trafford for the Grand Final despite the final result.

On top of that, I also have the privilege to work with one of the best production teams on the biggest football phone-in show 606 at BBC 5 live. Having worked with the same team for over two years now as a researcher and phone-op, I have experienced the live broadcasting environment during events such as the 2018 world cup and working on the first ever 2019 Women’s World Cup 606. As a team, we have won both the 2018 & 2019 FSA radio show of the year.

Emma Butler BBC 5 Live


What does a normal week look like for you?

I’d be surprised if anyone in a similar role to me would use the word “normal” to describe their working week in a sports environment. It’s always very fast paced, and you have to be adaptable and fast reacting to certain situations. For example, a pre-season campaign will look very different to a Grand Final campaign in terms of content and marketing strategies.

During the season however, most weeks will be focussing on content surrounding the games we have coming up in the following weeks. I will spend my time filming training sessions, interviewing players who have any connections with the opposing teams and creating content that will excite fans and inspire them to look towards ticket sales. I will also be away from the AJ Bell stadium a lot of the time filming for our reserve and academy grade games as well as any promotional work with players within the Salford community.

When gameday finally comes around, it’s all hands on deck to prepare the stadium (for a home game) for fans, sponsors, guests and media. As Salford share the stadium with Sale Sharks, the task of making sure the correct branding, boards, posters are out is the first to tick off on the list. It gets a little bit more exciting once the fans start arriving as we usually try to include the community on our game days by inviting sponsors and community groups to hold takeover or theme days to raise money for charity. I’ll usually be out there filming all the action before the real action of the game starts. During the game, I will be doing a mixture of photography and videography for social media and video montages before editing the post-match press conference and any post-match player interviews to be released straight after the game.

The next few days will be focused on more post-match content such as posting highlights and full matches on RDTV.


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

I was one of those people who never really knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. In school, I had always been the creative type to hate maths and love art. I took part in a variety of things such as netball, theatre, horse riding etc. But it wasn’t until my second year of university, sat in my sports journalism lecture, when I found something that clicked with me. Uni was a huge turning point for me in both my personal and professional life and I started to volunteer with multiple sports clubs and look more closely at sports reporting. Working alongside and getting advice from people such as Robbie Savage, Stephen Warnock, Sam Quek and Emma Jones at 606 gave me more confidence to pursue a career in sports media.

I’d always been a football fan over rugby league until I got involved with Salford. I reached out to Salford after covering a few news stories for them previously and asked them about work experience which I continued alongside my uni course. After only a few months, it showed me how supportive and exciting the rugby league community is and when Director Paul King offered me a full-time job with the club before my degree had even ended, I couldn’t wait to get started.


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

I think a lot of people will agree that rugby league still has a long way to go before it starts to compete with the likes of the Premier League in terms of public interest. I didn’t know a whole lot about the sport before I was introduced but if anything, I’m proof that almost anyone can be converted into a lover of rugby league after a lifetime of following football.

Rugby league has so much potential both on and off the pitch. The players have talent in abundance, the fans are so passionate, the people behind the clubs work so hard to get the sport out there and everyone always comes together despite their team to lift spirits and help whenever the rugby league community faces negative situations. With the right leadership and support, the sport will grow both nationally and internationally.

Salford will always be known as the underdogs of Super League but we as a club have come a long way in the past two years thanks to the direction of Paul King and if last season is anything to go by, we definitely aren’t going to give anything up without a fight! I’m now working with the website host to build a live stream for certain games and events on RDTV which I hope will be up and running in the not too distant future! I’m proud to be a part of Salford Red Devils and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the club.


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

Explore every avenue of the sports industry. There are so many different paths into a career in sports industry and I’m still amongst the first steps to getting there myself! Work hard at what you want and always be open to every opportunity that presents itself.

I always try and push myself out of my comfort zone when possible so that I can learn from every experience and improve on my own knowledge and skills and don’t be scared to think outside the box. Experience and hard work, like with anything in life, is the key to get where you want to be.


How to follow Emma Butler on social media…

Twitter: @EmmaRoseButler

Instagram: @emmarosebutler

RDTV: https://reddevils.mysportsonline.uk


Thanks for reading our Industry Insider feature with Media & TV Producer, Emma Butler.