Sports. One of the hottest and most popular sensational topics literally wherever you go. But why would I talk about sports when my expertise revolves around PR and communications? Obviously because at this time and age, and after sports has evolved to a multi-billion dollar industry, PR has naturally become part of this international trend.
However, even though it is widely understood that PR plays a functional role in promoting sports, how PR is utilized is still misunderstood. Of course, the first misconception that can be somewhat acceptable is that PR’s role focuses on supporting the marketing department’s overall activities, objectives, and strategies. The other issue is that little attention is given to PR, its activities, and its significance, as some sports organizations believe that the ultimate focus should be on the sport itself rather than the surrounding activities.
But for an increasingly expanding global business, sports undoubtedly requires the support of PR and its related activities. Such activities include media relations, media rights, new media and social media, event management, sponsorships, publicity, as well as fan relationships.
When done right, PR truly possesses the power to promote sports as a social, cultural, and not to mention, a national and patriotic event and tradition. And with popularity, sponsorship opportunities will be easily granted by the largest players in various and key industries.
For any PR practitioner interested in becoming a sports PR professional, apart from the known PR skills that they should own, the two most important skills they are expected to concentrate on are media relations and community relations. Knowing how to deal with and handle mass media is as crucial as knowledge in community relations programs.
One thing should be pointed out: Despite the technological advancements and how much society and industries have evolved across all aspects, to guarantee success as a sports PR professional, you have to always rely on quality relationships with the fans, players, sponsors, and of course, the media.
Sawsan Abu Omar, MCIPR
PR & Communications Professional