Steve Hopper | Presenter & Football Content Producer

Hi Steve, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you tell our readers about yourself, what you currently do and how did you end up where you are right now?

When did you know you wanted to become a presenter and work in sport?

I’ve always been passionate about football and in particular England so it occurred to me a few years ago that it would be a great idea to combine my two loves together. The best presenters can convey information about most things, but I think my best work really shines when I’m super invested in the subject.

You hosted ‘World Cup Latest’ on Freeview and Virgin Media in 2018 and a year later a series on Women’s Football called ‘Adopted By The Lionesses’. How did these come about and can you share your standout memories from those experiences?

The original plan was to spend the entire tournament out in Russia. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I only made it as far as Nice in the South of France. It really wasn’t meant to be. Sadly, some personal circumstances came into play which obstructed one or two flights. And on one occasion, I was on a train to the airport, only for it to be halted on the track due to a freak accident. Which meant I missed check in! In total, I missed four flights across the month, including one for the semi-final.

This really could and perhaps should have spelt doom for the series, however, the show must go on and other famous clichés, so I found a way to alter the entire series format. I focused on fans back in England and of course my own journey, warts an’ all, which told a different story than we’re used to seeing. And perhaps in a way that hadn’t been done before.

Adopted by the Lionesses came about when I realised that there was a huge boost in women’s football on the horizon. There was a gap in media exposure which I felt I could fill and mould with my own presenting style. This led to working alongside the England women’s squad during the World Cup of 2019, which was mega fun. I got to experience an away tournament in France, go behind the scenes at St George’s Park for training and media activities too. It really opened my eyes to where women’s football could be in just a few years time. This built my relationship with the FA and other footballing bodies.

This then led to being accredited by the US Soccer Federation for the SheBelieve’s Cup in 2020, which was the highlight of my career to date. 10 days, 5 flights, 3 states and 3 matches. I traveled with the Lionesses across the US as we visited Orlando, New Jersey and Dallas. It was quite some trip and it allowed me to flex my football content producer role.

Who are your favourite football presenters at the moment and what do you think it is that makes them so brilliant?

What are the most enjoyable and difficult parts of your role?

I’d say the most difficult part of my role is when I’m working on England content and they lose, say a European Championship final! You have to continue until the end of whatever production you’re working on, even though I’d rather shut myself away in a dark room for 3 days…

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would that be?

What general advice would you give to those individuals looking to pursue a career in sports presenting — what are the key skills needed?

With the advance in technology, anyone can create their own channel now on social media. Maybe you have a club you go to watch every week. You could present your own ‘piece to camera’ outside the ground perhaps, or speak with some fans? Further more, there are courses available on presenting. And look to sign up to your local hospital radio.

What do you do to switch off outside of work?

And finally Steve, where can people find you on social media to connect?

Sign up to the Freelance Football Opportunities newsletter to receive freelance football work directly in to your inbox every week: www.freelancefootballopps.com.

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