Tips for Sports PR: The Seasons and Media Appetite Never Ends

Neither Do the Controversies

By Andrew Blum*

In sports, the seasons never seem to end, overlapping and spilling into the start of the next sport’s season and then some.  And so it goes each year with media appetites never waning either.

Whether it’s baseball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, soccer, NCAA teams, the Olympics, World Cup and other events, there is a constant stream of news. The PR teams for all of these are always on the go on good and bad news days alike.

The day-to-day job of making coaches and players available to the press or spinning a bad game are the meat and potatoes of the PR staffs. While some media may still be “cheerleaders” of a local team, the media in general is anything but.

Then there are big controversies: like the North Carolina LGBT law that led to the NBA pulling the 2017 all-star game from the state, and led to criticism that Charlotte owner Michael Jordan has never done enough in the political arena. How do you spin that rebuke of arguably the best basketball player ever?

Other PR controversies include drugs, a player’s arrest, the constant drumbeat about new contracts and trades as well as endorsements and a glut of off-season issues. And then a team that is the nation’s pride and joy – the U.S. women’s national soccer team – has sued over what it claims is poor pay.

But if you’re a manager or coach, perhaps the most frustrating part of the job is meeting with the press after a loss. Take New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi, facing a .500 season this year in Steinbrenner-world. He may well blow his top soon if he hears the same negative press questions one time too many. And it’s the PR staff’s job to help with that.

 

*Andrew Blum is a PR consultant and media trainer and principal of AJB Communications. He has directed PR for professional services and financial services firms, NGOs, agencies and other clients. As a PR executive, and formerly as a journalist, he has been involved on both sides of the media aisle in some of the most media intensive crises of the past 25 years. Contact him at ajbcomms@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @ajbcomms.

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