Yards ran, shots per game, record-breaking Hail Mary’s. All statistics devoted sports fans swear to memory. As loyal as fans are to their favorite sports team or player, nothing can build up, maintain or save their reputation better than a sports public relations pro.
Sports PR experts serve as middlemen between a sports teams and the press including such information as sports news, team data, or player information. How does a team or a player see their ROI from sports PR? The PR expert plays a crucial promotional role. After all, what is a game without an audience? It is up to your PR team to generate public interest, increase a teams’ visibility and of course, fill a stadium with fans.
You serve as a PR expert for the team at large and each of it’s entities, meaning, it’s players! Not only are you helping a team generate Return on Investment (ROI) from attendees, but big brands are looking for athletes to endorse their company. When a player gets an endorsement deal, you are helping to monetize the player and the team. So keep your eyes peeled at the next game!
After being at the Super Bowl gifting suite and working with the Olympic USA Women’s Water Polo Team, we’ve learned and experienced a few things about sports PR along the way. Here are a few tips to get you started with a new sports client.
Flex Your Creative Muscle
When working in Sports PR, you aren’t just managing a product or a singular company. You are helping an entire group of people or sports franchise keep in line with a consistent messaging. From player to player and game to game. When you’re sure all branding and internal messaging is in line, get creative with your media outreach. Be front and center when creating relationships with journalists, learning their story preferences and following up diligently.
Win Big During a Crisis
Players tend to let their tensions and stress out on social media platforms like twitter, where one tweet can throw in the flag on all your PR and reputation management efforts. The second negative press goes live, a fumble has occurred and the media is all over it. When this happens, just tell the truth.
You’ll win big by avoiding lies. Fans love their teams and players based on their honesty. For example, when a player starts taking steroids, their sports career becomes a lie and fans feel tricked. Working with your team’s legal department, if need be, will help strengthen your defense.
Another important tidbit: Focus on the positive! It is not uncommon to come across stories of athletes getting DUI’s on the news but it’s the positive news that needs be highlighted. The same athlete or one of his teammates may be volunteering time to a local school or starting an after-school program. Whether it’s news about charities a team or player is affiliated with or the launch of a new shoe, always take a timeout and assess the positive.
Score On and Off the Field
Athletes need to be properly trained so they can tackle more than just 300-lb men. Many athletes are great at what they do on the field, but when it comes to on-camera interviews or PR off the field, they get petrified. One our of clients, DR-HO’s helped his clients talk on camera about their foundation, Right to Play. If they aren’t trained properly, then you may have to prepare for some crisis management. Go in with a game plan for success and encourage confidence on-screen.
There are so many ways Sports PR can integrate traditional PR tactics with new-age ones. The best way to tackle sports PR is to take it on-sides and off-sides with all the energy you have. Keep your PR plays consistent and sometimes, learn to take a risk or two!