If you are a sports addict and would love to build a career behind the camera at top sporting events, look no further than the NFTS Sports Production Diploma. Students on the course learn about all forms of sports production, equipping them with the editorial skills required to direct and produce state-of-the-art sports and live events coverage, highlights content and other material for the sport industry. 

The 12-month full-time Diploma is delivered in partnership with IMG, one of the world’s largest independent sports producers, with students completing a four-week work experience placement at the company.

IMG has major relationships with broadcasters around the world, and is involved in work with FIFA, UEFA, the Premier League, European Tour Golf, the UCI, the Asian Games Federation and World Snooker. In the UK, IMG produces the Snooker World Championship and the BDO World Darts Championship. 

We caught up with NFTS Sports Production Diploma graduates Mac Leesburg and Remi Odoit, along with current student Flynn Hamilton to discuss the exciting partnership and placement with IMG. 

Remi Odoit is currently working as an Assistant Producer for Golfing World, having previously worked for Eurosport during the Winter Olympics after graduating from the NFTS. Whilst studying at the NFTS, Remi’s IMG placement included working on the Open Final Qualifying Series, a shoot of the landscape of a golf club for a feature and a Gary Player Invitational, the world’s leading golf charity series. 

What did you do for your placement at IMG and how did it help you?
Remi: “I’m really grateful for the placement at IMG last year. I’ve stayed in contact with Golfing World’s Senior Producer and he proposed a job opportunity to me this year! The placement last year was great. I wanted to do features and editing and the experience at IMG gave me the reassurance that this was definitely for me. The team at IMG didn’t hesitate to provide responsibilities or opportunities for me to go and shoot and get a real feel of the industry. Thanks to that, my knowledge of producing and working in fast turnaround improved so much!”

Have you got any exciting projects coming up?
“The opportunities at Golfing World are huge. I’ve already been to 8 different countries in less than 6 months for different shoots, including Finland, China and America. Travel is a big part of the job for sports production but when you love it, it’s absolutely wonderful to be able to live those moments. It’s very special to be able to go to different places and meet a lot of people with unique stories.” 

Mac Leesburg graduated from the Sports Production Diploma in 2016, and has worked for Channel 4 and IMG since then. He is currently working in the digital department at IMG as an Assistant Producer. 

What are you doing now?
“I’m an Assistant Producer for IMG, working across a range of sports. We work with a variety of federations (EuroLeague Basketball, Wimbledon, The Open, UEFA) and create highlights, in-game clips, creative content and more for the client’s social channels. I'm a huge tennis fan and a bigger Andy Roddick fan, so getting to work on Wimbledon and create content for their social channels has been the biggest highlight so far.”

How has studying at the NFTS helped you in your journey to your current career?
“Studying at NFTS was a game-changer for me. I started at the school with good experience in sports radio but that didn't exactly translate to television. Thanks to course leaders, Tom and Chris by the end of the year I felt like I had the necessary skills to enter the industry at the producer level and immediately start working as a shooter/editor. And thanks to the School’s relationship with IMG, I got my foot in the door there and the skills I learnt at school allowed me to comfortably transition into a great full-time job with them.” 

Current student Flynn Hamilton’s work placement at IMG included experience with Golfing World working as a camera assistant and assistant producer.

What were the highlights of your IMG work placement?
“I loved every second of my placement, and was rather sad when it all ended! I wasn’t expecting to have so much to do, and so much responsibility, so it certainly exceeded my expectations. There are almost too many highlights to mention, but the moment that springs to mind immediately is flying out to Sweden in the first week of my placement to interview Henrik Stenson, who is currently ranked at 17 in world golf. I then scripted and edited a feature from the interview, which was broadcast on the show. As well as this, I went out on a shoot with Georgia Hall, who won the Women’s British Open this summer. From the shoot, I was expected to produce and edit a player profile, so everything hinged on my interview with her. All in all, I produced three features in four weeks, all of which are being broadcast worldwide, and I spent half of my working days out on shoots, so I suppose the overall highlight was being given so much responsibility and being trusted to provide quality content for the show.”

Has the placement helped you decide what you want to do when you graduate?
“My time at IMG has definitely helped me decide the path I’ll look to pursue when I graduate. I have always seen myself going down the AP/producer route, which is something which has really been encouraged by Tom Lewis and Chris Downham, my tutors at the NFTS, and the opportunity to take on those roles in a proper working environment has totally convinced me that I am following the right path and that I do want to go into an AP style role when I graduate.” 

If you’re interested in a career in sports production, sign up for our open day and experience a live outside broadcast – Sign up now! Sunday 25th November 1.30pm at Ealing Rugby Club 

Apply for the Sports Production Diploma by 9th December 2018 and start in Jan 2019! www.nfts.co.uk/sports