Peek Inside The Gorgeous Notebooks Of Professional Soccer Broadcasters

Think these commentators are just getting on the radio with no prep? Think again.


Any sports fan can yell at the TV whilst drunk for a few hours. But it takes a researched professional to do play-by-play commentary well, while adding stats and insight to every moment.


Nowhere is this more clear than the meticulous notebooks of BBC Radio Newcastle’s Nick Barnes. Before each match, he spends hours laying out matchup information like inked infographics. The player names, numbers, and positions are there, sure, but Barnes puts a Kindergarten teacher level of attention into his creations of highlighters and Sharpie.

Henrik Knudsen/Eight by Eight

You’ll note tiny flags depicting the origins of each player, handdrawn depictions of soccer kits (or what you might call uniforms), and even markered renditions of the patterns on the soccer pitches themselves, created through a studied crisscross of green highlighters.

Surprisingly, Barnes tells the soccer magazine Eight by Eight that he rarely refers to these notes during broadcast. Instead, they’re a “crutch” in case he needs them. And assembled en masse, they serve as a journal of his career. “If I was a newspaper reporter, I could keep my match reports,” he tells the magazine, “but radio is transient, so my notebook is my personal record of the matches I cover.”

Eight by Eight is offering a peek inside more commentator notebooks soon. See them here.

[via Miles Kohrman]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach