Interview: Sky Sports broadcaster, Mark McAdam

Ollie Baines talks to Sky Sports broadcaster, Mark McAdam. Find out Mark’s best interview, what it’s really like to work on transfer deadline day and the best thing about working for Sky Sports!

Ollie – “Mark, for our viewers who may not know you, can you tell us what you do?”

Mark – “I’m a broadcaster, I’ve been working in T.V now for almost 15 years. The great thing about my role in Sky is that I never know what I’m going to be doing from one day until the next. My role at Sky is very varied, I’m really lucky because I get the opportunity to work on different shows. I spend a bit of time at Sky Sports News, I’ve worked on Soccer Saturday which is obviously one of the flagship shows when it comes to Saturday afternoons with Jeff Stelling and the team. I also work on another show called Game Changers, a kids show on a Saturday morning; and that’s probably one of the most exciting things I get to do, because I get to interview some great sportsmen and women around the country.”

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Ollie – “What’s the best and worst thing about being a reporter for Sky Sports?”

Mark – “Sky is a massive organisation, it’s so iconic in the way it does things, it’s at the forefront of technology and it likes to be diverse. It’s the company when it comes to sports broadcasting across Europe. It’s great to be apart of such an iconic company. One of the great things about Sky Sports News is it’s such a massive channel. It’s funny because I can have friends sat in a bar in Italy or sat in a bar in America and they’re watching me live on television, that’s how far the channel reaches! I’m so privileged to be in that position, it was one of the things I wanted to be a part of and I’m lucky enough to be involved in their output. The first time I appeared on screen, I felt like I won the lottery.

The negatives…sometimes the hours can be long! It can be a challenge when you’re bringing stories live on air. Every story, every piece of news you have to really think about. There’s loads and loads of travelling involved too. I was in Brighton yesterday, Bournemouth today and London tomorrow – so you get to see a lot of the country, which is good but can also be a challenge. But at the end of the day, I look back at what I do and realise I’m in such a lucky and privileged position to be paid to do what I do, so I try not to complain too much!”

Ollie – “When the studio hands over to a reporter live on air, tell us a bit about what happens behind the scenes?”

Mark – “Different reporters do things in different ways. Whenever you see a Sky Sports News reporter out on location, they will never have an auto-cue. Out an about, it’s just you and the camera. Personally, I tend to ad-lib, but I’ll remember stats and information if I’m about to interview a player or a manger. The information you know off-hand, will be the information that will get you out of trouble on air! There’ll be times where I have to interview a female surfer, women’s golf player or a Rugby player, sports I don’t know a lot about, but, you still have to come across as if you exactly what you’re doing and saying.  Some reporters like to script it and remember it, but I prefer to ad-lib.”

Ollie – “Best interview you’ve ever done?”

Mark – “The best interview for me, and not because it was a great interview but more because it was the person, was Samuel. L. Jackson. I was lucky enough to interview him a couple of years ago at a sporting event. He is one of my absolute heroes. To be able to be with him, ask him questions and talk to him was simply amazing. So that has to go down as my most memorable interview.”

Ollie – “Mark, tell us what it’s like to work on Transfer Deadline Day?” 

Mark – “Anyone sports reporter who says they don’t enjoy Transfer Deadline Day is lieing or they should be doing something else! It’s the 2 days of the year that get everyone at Sky Sports News gets really excited and there’s a real buzz about the place. It’s what you’re in the game for, the buzz of live TV, the buzz that anything could happen. I’ve done 8 or 9 windows for Sky Sports News now and I was lucky enough to do one with Harry Redknapp. With Harry you know you’re going to be able to speak with him 4 or 5 times throughout the day, he’s always great to be around because he recognises the importance of giving the fans an insight into deadline day. It genuinely is a crazy day. I was at Bounemouth most recently, and your alarms set at 4.30am, you’re on set by 5.30am and on air by 6.00am and invariably you don’t stop until mid-night! You work the full 18 hours. That’s 18 hours of live TV, 18 hours of being on the phone. The last deadline just passed, I was live on air 22 times in 16 hours! My phone battery died after about 4 hours, I had 2 phones for the day because it’s just so busy. You’re taking phone calls from agents, players and managers, literally seconds before going live on TV.

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On one particular occasion I had 15 seconds to digest the information given to me on the phone, before I had to turn it around in my head and report on it live on air! With deadline day you just never know what’s going to happen. You get told something, but until you see it with your own eyes, you’re just going on what someone tells you. Then all of a sudden a player walks towards you, you haven’t heard about the deal, it’s out of the blue. Suddenly, you’re on your iphone, checking stats, “Where has he been? How many goals has he scored?, it’s just a constant day, non-stop!

But, you go home with a massive smile on your face, knowing you’ve delivered the news in your own way, in the right manner and you’ve been apart of a huge operation on such a massive occasion. If my boss calls me up saying he wants me for deadline day tomorrow, I tell him, “what time and where” and that’s what its all about!”

Ollie – “As a Bournemouth fan, what do you make of the season ahead?” 

Mark – “Ollie, I used to get excited about us being at the top half of League One, let alone then the Championship and the Premier League. Their rise from the Football League is an indication to other football clubs that, with the right players, investment and manager, anything is possible. I used to be involved with Bournemouth and I remember the financial situation there. One day the groundsman said he needed fertiliser for the pitch, so we had to do a bring and buy sale to raise £200 to afford fertiliser for the pitch. So to see them in the position now is unbelievable.

I think they will be one of the most exciting teams in the Premier League this season. To go away to West Ham, score 4 goals and get 3 points there was massive and to follow that up with a solid point at Leicester means with 4 points from 4 games, they’re going to be competitive. It will be a massive challenge to stay in the Premier League but I reckon they’ll do it!”

Ollie – “Final question Mark, what does the future hold for Mark McAdam?

Mark – “Who knows! Again, that’s part of the excitement of it all. I consider myself a broadcaster, whether that’s behind the camera or in-front of it, I get excited about making good television. I love Sky, I love what they do and I love that side of my life. I also have a passion for comedy. I’ve recently done a documentary, “Bournemouth Buster Big Time”, and that was so fun to do and be a part of. I’m somebody who has so many passions and ideas, I love being creative. I’d like to do some comedy stuff, I’d like to be involved with a sitcom and I’d like further myself with my job with Sky. You never know what’s around the corner, but one thing I know for sure is that I love what I do and I do it with a smile on my face.”

A huge thank you to Mark McAdam for taking his time to talk to Cross The Line. 

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