Here’s an academic definition of sport PR:
Sport public relations is a managerial communication-based function designed to identify a sport organization’s key publics, evaluate its relationships with those publics, and foster desirable relationships between the sport organization and those publics (Stoldt, Dittmore & Branvold, 2012).
The key words for you to remember are "foster desirable relationships with those publics" and in our class, we'll think about that in the context of tasks performed by various professionals.
Below are eight categories of key publics that a typical sport PR person has to foster a desirable relationship with. And, they are numbered for a reason. After you’ve worked in sport PR for a while, you can disagree about the order of some of these, but for now consider the top two are:
In media relations activities we are meeting the information needs of the mass media who are, in turn creating information for a mass audience who consumes our sports. We do things like generate publicity for teams, organizations, and individuals so that the media can present those people and teams in a well-informed way.
In academia this is labeled the public information model
for providing information about our sport organizations. A lot comes from us and is sent out to the media. By informing our key public, the media, we are informing a mass audience about our teams through that mass media.
Here are the common media relations activities that the sport PR person does:
- Generating publicity
- Managing statistical services
- Assisting in media coverage and running press boxes
- Creating publications
- Generating online content.
We do so many of these, in fact, typically we spend more than 75% of our time performing these activities.
When we move to thinking about how we foster desirable relationships when we handle our community relations activities, we’re talking about:
- Building relationships within our communities, both our neighborhoods and our associations; and
- Building and protecting the image of and developing goodwill for our sport organizations and its people.
Key activities are usually:
- Unmediated communication programs, in other words a program we create and implement without going through a reporter for example; and,
- Corporate social responsibility programs which are popular with many sport organizations and personalities.
When we develop programs for community relations it’s important to remember that just because we share a neighborhood with someone does not mean that someone is a fan of our sport organization.
I'll share stories about that later in this course, but for now the easiest way to think about that is to consider maybe a person who lives across the street from a college stadium. That person shares a sport organization's neighborhood and is a member of its community because of their proximity to the sport organization. But, they may not be a fan of the college or its teams because of noise or traffic, for example. Not everyone who lives in the community with a sport organization will be a fan of that organization, but the sports PR person still has to serve that key public.