The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is a 501(c) 6 non-profit service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® Award.

The Sports Emmy® Awards honors outstanding achievement in sports programming by conferring annual awards of merit in various categories. The presentation of these awards is intended to be an incentive for the continued pursuit of excellence..

In November 2018, a call for entries is sent to a wide cross section of the television sports community. Entries are solicited from networks, cable companies, “over the top” providers, syndicators and independent producers. Networks, cable, syndicators, and time buy or barter producers are limited in the number of submissions in the program (4), feature (4), and special classification – innovation (4) categories. There is no limit in the Documentary, Personality and New Media categories, the Promotion category or the Craft categories. Individual crafts persons may submit in the craft categories

The final deadline for entries in the Outstanding Short Sports Documentary, Outstanding Long Sports Documentary and Outstanding Serialized Sports Documentary categories is the close of business (5:00 PM EST) on Thursday, January 24, 2019. Entries in the Outstanding Edited Sports Event Coverage and Outstanding Edited Sports Special or Series categories must be started on line no later than the close of business (5:00 PM EST) Thursday, January 24, 2019.
The final deadline for all other entries is the close of business (5:00 PM EST) on Thursday, February 7, 2019.

For the majority of categories and areas, entries are screened in February and March in a single round of at-home ‘blue ribbon’ judging.

Entries are judged by panelists who are certified as peers. Each judge casts a secret ballot. Judges’ votes are not shared with other judges or with members or staff of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). They are sent to an accounting firm for tabulation.

The nominees are announced in early April, and posted on our website at www.emmyonline.tv. This year's honorees will be announced at the Sports Emmy® Awards ceremony on Monday, May 20th, 2019 in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.


The following revisions and refinements have been made to the Sports Emmy® Award rules and procedures with respect to previous editions of the rules.

  • The format of this Call for Entries has been updated, with a section titled "Fundamental Rules." This section covers the basic rules that govern the conduct of the awards and the ground rules for all categories.
  • In the George Wensel Technical Achievement Award, to clarify the term "Innovator", the rule has been revised to: "The term "innovator" is defined as those individuals who invent, make changes, create or introduce new processes, devices, techniques or systems. Generally they are the creators of the innovation, planners, not executors of the idea, i.e. not managers, supervisors, executives, approvers or financiers of the project."
  • In addition, in the Wensel Award, each entry is to be for a single innovation; a combined entry of non-related innovations will not be accepted.
  • The video presentation for the Wensel Award must include at least one "as aired" coverage or studio excerpt of the innovation in use.
  • To refine the rule limiting the entry of programming in more than one Emmy® Award contest, the rule has been revised to read: "The same material may not be entered in more than one Emmy® Award contest, unless a specific, unique category is only offered by another Emmy® Award contest." For example, the Sports Emmy® Awards do not offer a "Best Narrator" category, whereas the Prime Time Emmy® Awards do. Pending coordination between the two Emmy® organizations, the entry of a sports documentary narrator in the Prime Time category would be allowed.
  • "Scripted entertainment" and competitions with pre-determined outcomes are not eligible in the Sports Emmy® Awards.
  • The wording of the Original Programming rule has been revised to clarify that the stipulation that at least two-thirds of the entered telecast or programming is measured with respect to the entire telecast as aired, not the video excerpts submitted for judging. If there is any question as to the originality of an entry, the submitter must provide the complete original telecast or programming for comparison.
  • Compilation reels or "buzz tapes" are not permitted in any category. Entries are to be produced from video and audio as it originally aired in context to the viewer, without augmented music, graphics, voice over or on-cameras. Aired programming that is in the format of a compilation reel is not eligible.
  • NATAS reserves the right to disqualify outright or move any entry to a different entry category if in its judgment such action is warranted. Submitters will be notified when a rejection or category reassignment is made. Entries will not be accepted if no applicable category is found, and entry fees refunded.
  • Programming that otherwise conforms to the rules for Outstanding Live Sports Special may be eligible as determined by NATAS, upon petition by the submitter.
  • The Outstanding Edited Sports Special or Series category has been added. An Edited Special or Series is a single program, broadcast in one or more parts. If the majority is edited, the program is considered edited. This category includes the following possible submissions: (1) a one-time, out-of-format special from an existing series; (2) panel discussion shows; (3) interview shows; (4) edited programming not eligible for any other program category. NATAS reserves the right to rule on the eligibility of entries for this category and may disqualify or move non-conforming entries to an appropriate category.

In order to confirm eligibility in this Edited Sports Special or Series category rather than other Documentary categories, submitters must start the on-line entry process no later than Thursday, January 24th.

Season and Event Recap and Review Shows should be submitted in the Edited Sports Coverage category. If the submitter has a question on whether the submission should be entered as a Sports Documentary, Edited Coverage or an Edited Special or Series, please contact the National Academy.

The video submission must have a minimum of 2 but no more than 5 excerpts and have a Total Submission Time of no more than 20 minutes. Each excerpt must be a straight run without internal editing of program content. Commercials must be deleted.

  • Category name change: Outstanding Sports News Anthology revised to Outstanding Sports Feature Anthology
  • The wording has been revised to formally state that a feature entered in the Outstanding Sports Journalism category cannot also be entered in either the Outstanding Short Feature or the Outstanding Long Feature categories.
  • Programming entered in Outstanding Digital Innovation cannot be entered in the George Wensel Technical Achievement category, and vice versa. A previously entered "digital innovation" will be allowed only if, in the opinion of NATAS, it has been significantly improved or modified in either how it looks on the screen or in how it is brought to the screen.
  • For Sports Reporters, pre-event, "halftime" and post-event reports are eligible.
  • Language regarding entry challenges, submitter's responsibilities and results confidentiality have been added.

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