Welcome back to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Sport Anchor and Writer, Nat Coombs!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
I’m Nat Coombs and I’m a Sports Anchor and Writer, specialising in US Sports. I currently host The Nat Coombs Show on ESPN, BBL on Sky Sports, Going Global on TalkSport2, NFL International Series for BBC TV & an NFL column for The Times. I’ve been a sports broadcaster since 2007, and have worked all over, like most of us hired guns!
What do you do in your current role?
A lot of talking! As an anchor, it’s my job to steer the conversation, ask the right questions. Let the experts do the heavy lifting!
What does a normal week look like for you?
My ESPN show goes out three times a week during the NFL season, so there’s lots of focus on that. The team has worked together a lot, and we have a great bunch of regular contributors, and as a news/issues show, the format writes itself. The live BBL games for SKY are every Friday, so I’ll prep for that midweek, typically file my NFL columns on Thursday so they’ll be a work in progress for much of the early week. By work in progress, I mean a blank piece of paper, mainly! My radio show on Sunday (Going Global) gets built as the week goes on, and my producer and I kick ideas back and forwards on What’s App as stories develop.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I was sports crazy as a kid, but cut my teeth as a stand-up, which I fell into in many ways, and ended up doing 4-5 years on the circuit in my early 20’s, which was equal parts fun & terrifying, and proved to be great grounding for live TV and radio. I enjoyed it, but my heart wasn’t truly in. So, I followed my instincts and decided to focus on sports broadcasting, specifically presenting. I did OK as a stand up and had been starting to do some TV and radio spots and had a broadcast agent, so I had a foot in the door, but essentially, I had to start from scratch. I did as many reps as I could – different types of roles, reporting, writing – and was lucky to get a screentest for the late-night NFL gig on Channel 5 and got it. Looking back, I spent much of that first-year learning on the job!
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
There’s so much opportunity to create. And technology enables such remarkable interaction and collaboration. When I was kid growing up, I used to get First Down newspaper for all my NFL news which was brilliant, and I miss it, but that was it. Now, the access to information now is extraordinary. We’re keen to build out different channels for the ESPN show – pod, social, written content. Endless possibilities!
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
Research, and being prepared. That was learned the hard way. I will always over-prepare. I’d rather have too much to say and miss stuff out, than the other way around. I also think it’s essential to be positive, polite and a team player. Ego is not an option!
In your area of work, what is something you feel most people don’t talk about or focus on enough?
I think the main social media platforms need to be tougher on trolling, and abuse given online. Not just to people in the public eye, but across the board. I appreciate it’s hard to police, and not always straightforward to intervene, but there feels like a major discrepancy between what could be done, and what is being done.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Persevere, be humble, have faith in yourself.
Any social links you want to plug?
My ESPN show is available to download here http://smarturl.it/n2t2b4 and I’m on Twitter and IG @Natcoombs
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Nat Coombs! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.