What’s the difference between a color commentator and a play-by-play announcer?

When two novice commentators take over the mic to call a game, both generally gravitate toward calling the action they see in front of them. What you end up with are two play-by-play announcers and little interesting commentary. 

A play-by-play announcer describes the game that’s going on as it happens. On the other hand, someone doing color commentary might offer some analysis, tell some stories, or share statistics of the players and teams. 

Here are a few resources to share with budding announcers to help them learn the difference between the two positions. 

For more livestreaming tips, check out our guide.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 23rd year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He created The Next 26 and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on Twitter and Instragram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

Aaron Manfull has 738 posts and counting. See all posts by Aaron Manfull

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