After school in Syke, Beckmann studied German, film and theatre in Cologne.
In 1980, he began to work for the broadcaster WDR (in programs such as Aktuelle Stunde). As a sports journalist, he worked for Premiere from 1990 to 1992. He next went to SAT1, again as a sportscaster (in programs such as ran and ranissimo). Since 1998 Beckmann works for ARD (in programs such as Sportschau and has his own talkshow Beckmann). He retired on 6 May 2017.
Beckmann and his family live in Hamburg. He is married with two children.