It is impossible to watch or attend and NBA game without hearing NBA announcers. While watching games on television, they can be heard giving play-by-play details throughout the entire duration. While attending games, they can be heard over the public address system serving as an emcee for games, introducing players and announcing upcoming events and promotions. In either case, NBA announcers are well-paid, though play-by-play announcers earn considerably higher salaries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists salaries for announcers according to two categories: those working in television and radio and those working in a variety of mediums including public address announcers. As such, the bureau lists the average salary of television and radio announcers in spectator sports at $79,050 as of 2010. The average salary of public address announcers is $13.18 hourly, or $27,414 annually based on 2080 hours as of 2008, according to the bureau.
Public Address Announcers
NBA public address announcers are typically paid per game, with public addresses announcers working home games. They work each of a team's 41 home games during the season in addition to playoff games, if their team qualifies. A March 1990 article for the Orlando Sentinel notes the salary of Orlando Magic public address announcer Paul Porter at $100 per game. An August 2007 article for ESPN suggests that this figure per game remained intact.
The Play-by-Play Guys
Top NBA play-by-play announcers work cover games for major networks, such as ABC, TNT and ESPN, and can easily earn six-figure salaries. In fact, some NBA announcers may gain additional income announcing other sports on opposing networks. Salaries for leading play-by-play men, such as Mike Breen and Marv Albert, reach seven figures. As far back as 1999, top sports broadcasters earned six-figure to seven-figure salaries, according to Online Sports.
It is customary for major networks to offer long-term contracts to NBA play-by-play announcers. A February 2008 article for Variety reports a deal between top announcer Marv Albert and TNT. The eight-year contract calls for Albert to announce regular season games, the All-Star game and the conference finals. Salary figures were not disclosed.