Edition #170 of Industry Insider has landed. Our latest guest is Ziad Mansour, TV Sports Reporter for beIN Sports!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello, I’m Ziad Mansour, I am a TV Sports Reporter for beIN Sports, the biggest Sports TV right holder in the MENA region.
What do you do in your current role?
It’s exactly what it says on the tin, I report on sports on TV. Although, understandably, football is the main sport I cover throughout the year, I have also covered other sporting events like the Olympics, Wimbledon, F1, horse racing etc…
As for football, the Premier League is my main weekly focus, but I also cover the Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, international matches and so on.
“Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you?
My weekly routine actually follows a normal pattern “If” things are normal i.e., football matches, interviews, edits etc. But since this is sport, then there will always breaking news and stories that throw “normal” out of the window. So, flexibility is needed every so often.
As for a normal week, I will be out on shoots for features and match previews, be at press conferences, conducting interviews with players and managers, editing preview pieces and features. And then is my main role, which is live reporting from pitch side on a match day, then post match interviews with players and managers.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
Like Mark Twain said: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
That has always been my aim. I’ve always loved sports, and it always played a big role in my life. So, I always wanted to be part of that. But like you do when you start your life, you have to find jobs to support yourself and also until you realise what you really want to do in life, so I worked in other fields like translation, advertising, teaching etc.. But at the same time, I had to work so hard to find a way into the field. But once that happened, there was no turning back.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
May sound weird, but it is actually having fun. Life is full of serious issues, and although a lot of people take sports too seriously and stress about it, I still look at it as form of entertainment and a wonderful release. So, I do my job in a proper professional way, but also have fun and do it with a smile.
Another focus is to truly give the viewers a picture of what is happening whether in the pieces I edit or in my life hits. Small touches do matter too. As an example, I avoid using an umbrella when live, no matter what. Why? Well, I believe when the viewers tune in, they will want to see you live from the pitch side with fans and players in the background. So, an umbrella covering that view is a big “No” for me.
Can you tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?
Where will anyone be without failure? As an example, when you fail to read the room, in an interview or a post match interview, and ask a question that might sour the mood and make the remaining part of that interview awkward.
People look at sports people as highly paid individuals, which puts them under immense scrutiny. Reality is: The are just human beings like us and have feelings and emotions that should be respected. Experience helps a lot, and makes you know when to choose your battles.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
May sound obvious, but I am just excited to have a sense of normality back to stadiums. Amazing to have fans back. It was a privilege to be at football grounds during the pandemic and still working on the beautiful game, but it felt so weird and soulless.
If you could change one thing about your Industry, what would you change?
Access, all day long. You don’t want over saturation, but people really would like to know more about their heroes or hear more from them. Something like the American model could work well.
Additionally, I would appreciate more freedom rather than the media restrictions that are mostly present. It is easy to understand why clubs and players/managers are so cautious these days, but especially in my field, everything will be recorded on camera, so there will definitely be no fabrication like what happens on social media or some newspapers. I like to think that we have built trust over the so many years we’ve been doing this (Over 15 in my case).
Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?
The downside to my job is that I work antisocial hours, and on weekends/public holidays. But whenever I have the chance to switch off, then it will definitely will be with my partner, her family and mine. We also like to spend time with our friends, go to concerts, comedy shows etc.
Going to the gym is important to me. The physical results you get are nice, but I look more at it as my “Me time”, when I play my music and do something I like. Basically, being in my zone. And speaking of music, I’m trying (unsuccessfully) to learn how to play the guitar. Maybe the neighbours will say that I’m not doing a good job, but at least I’m trying.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Believe in yourself. If you have it in you, then nothing can stop you. There will definitely be obstacles along the way. It’s overcoming these obstacles makes the result even more rewarding.
Oh, and always have fun.. Sports is entertainment after all.
How to connect with Ziad Mansour…
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