Luis Cristovao is a Sports Commentator and Sports Writer at Eleven Sports Portugal, Radio Antena 1, SIC Notícias, Expresso and Eurosport Portugal and prepares Scouting reports on football teams around the world.
With experience commentating on some of the biggest games and tournaments in the world, Luis shares his journey behind the mic in this conversation with Sportageous
Zushan Hashmi: You do a wide range of things in relation to football, tell me a little bit about them?
Luis Cristovao: I’m working in television and radio, essentially within football commentary. I started working on football blogs in 2010, and after that, I have worked in this space for almost ten years now.
How did you get involved in football commentary and broadcasting?
I had previously worked with a Youtube channel, providing commentary for basketball games and, in 2015, when Eurosport bought the rights to broadcast the MLS in Portugal, I used my knowledge about the league to try to find my place there. I gave it a shot, and it started there.
You have been on the commentary team for various outlets in several different tournaments and competitions, what has that experience been like?
Nothing short of great. I have already been in a Champions League final, a Portuguese Cup final, in different games from the Portuguese League, yet I always find some kind of pleasure to be working on football.
What are some of the key skills that one needs to develop to become a commentator?
You need to watch a lot of games, to study other commentators and most importantly, to try to have your own voice.
Then, you need to understand the game and you need to learn what the public is expecting from you.
It’s a very public job, so you have to like it. Plus, you have to be a good multitasker. So, that is quite challenging too.
What have been some of the highlights of your commentary and broadcasting career?
The Champions League final in Madrid, for sure. But, some years ago, I was able to commentate for a game with my home team for a national radio show, which was very impactful for me, personally.
You also run a football podcast, tell me a little bit about that?
Yes, I started it when I was only doing MLS on TV, with a friend who was preparing himself to become a coach.
We wanted to show how we could use our knowledge to propose a different language on talking about football. It went very well. I’ve grown a lot professionally since then, as he did too (he’s working in a major European team now).
Let’s talk a bit about Portuguese football. Prior to Cristiano Ronaldo, there were several players that represented Portugal from the perspective of ‘brand image’, however with his meteoric rise to the top of the game, he has arguably been the strongest brand for Portuguese football. Now that he is nearing the end of his career, what is in store for Portuguese football?
I think we are entering the best times in Portuguese football, to be honest.
We now have Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes & Joao Felix, who are the main players to take over from Cristiano Ronaldo. And for every position in the 11, we now have top choices and I think the future is bright for our national team.
Who are some of the up and coming players in Portugal?
Diogo Leite, Fábio Silva, Tiago Dantas, and probably a lot of Under 20’s who will be well known to everybody in the near future.
What will be required to refresh the ‘brand’ of Portuguese football?
I think that the National Team is working very well. We need the Football League to refresh their image, working for a better brand internationally.
People know Portuguese teams from the UEFA competitions, so I think there is room to have the Portuguese League available on local TVs in more countries than it is available now.
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Do you think the current pandemic and lockdown will bring changes to football as we know it? If so, what?
We’ll have less money for transfers, less money for salaries and that will be a big change. Everybody will need to refresh the way they’re working and thinking about the game.
How are people across the football industry dealing with the current pandemic and maintaining their careers? Such as yourself?
We are almost all freelancers, so it isn’t easy. We need games to be back so we can earn our livelihood. For many I know, it’s been very challenging to go two months without income.
Who are some of your all-time favourite players and why?
It isn’t easy to choose one. But Eric Cantona, for what he played and for what he represented as a thinker, it’s probably my favourite.
And your favourite football moment?
Seeing my home team Torreense (who play in 3rd League) beat FC Porto (the National Champions) in a Cup match, back in 1999.
What would you say to young people who want to get involved in the wider football business but also broadcasting and commentary?
See all the games you can, listen to as much commentary as possible and study it. Find a way, be it through a blog or podcast, to develop your way of doing things.
Any other thoughts or comments?
Thanks for the interest in what I do and I hope your website can grow and reach a lot of people who want to work in this area.