Growing up, I was probably the biggest sports nerd around. I was that kid who knew how many points Allen Iverson averaged the previous season and could tell you who led the American League in home runs last year.
So I knew that whatever career path I chose, I knew that it would have to be somewhat related to sports. After I realized that becoming a professional athlete was out of the question, I started to wonder what job I could get that would keep me around sports.
I came to college with no idea of what I wanted to do; lawyer and sports agent were at the top of a congested list. But that’s when I learned about public relations. I learned about what it was and what public relations professionals do for their clients on a daily basis and I became intrigued.
That’s when I switched my major from exploratory to PR and decided that I wanted to work in sports PR. I want to be able to work for a professional sports team in their public relations department. But what do public relations professionals do in sports? That was my first question and a question many people who want to get into that field ask.
Sports PR professionals do many of the same things that other PR practitioners do. Writing remains a big piece of the job. Crafting press releases and stories for the press are some duties, as well as press guides and other materials for the writers who attend the games.
As a sports PR professional, we have to deal with most of the media requests and answer to fans that want specific information or who want to let us know how their experience at the game went. We can also be in charge of operating and maintaining the organization’s social media presence.
What people in sports PR are probably most recognized for is dealing with negative issues that happen to the team, otherwise known as issues management or crisis communication. It’s our job to present the issue truthfully to the public, but also to try and present the positive-if there is some.
I got a small taste of what this field entails when I interned with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Single –A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Although I mainly helped with on-field promotions and selling of different team-related products, I helped to monitor the Facebook and Twitter pages of the team and even helped write some press releases.
Sports has been my passion throughout my life. Since college, I’ve have felt pretty much the same way about PR. So why not try and get a job where the best of both my worlds collide? I hope that anyone with similar sports and PR aspirations looks to get involved with sports PR.