Brotherton was still at school when he began his career with BBC local radio and developed further while he was studying at Birmingham University where he joined Birmingham's local BBC radio station WM.
In 1990 Brotherton joined the BBC network, where, as well as commentating on the Premier League, he has commentated on a variety of football tournaments including the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 1996, UEFA Euro 2000, UEFA Euro 2004, the African Cup of Nations, the UEFA Champions League Final and the UEFA Cup Final.
He lives in West Sussex with his wife and their two daughters. In 2013 he became the lead BBC commentator for the World Track Cycling Championships and Olympic Games cycling (from 2016) following Hugh Porter's move to ITV. Brotherton is also the lead Channel 4 commentator for the Paralympic Games cycling (as of 2016).