People who work Sports PR handle their client’s information to the press, including player/team information. Not only are they required to handle the media, but to be there as their clients ‘promoter’. To make sure a sports franchise has their stadium filled with fans, they hire PR specialists/agencies to attract fans using promotional strategies like creating public interest, and increasing team and player visibility. The field of sports is a tough business. Sports events are always happening, and the popularity for sports is almost higher than any other industry. PR teams vary in size depending on what team or university you are working for (http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall01/latimer/).
As of April 10, 2013 these were the Top Sports Pr Agencies (http://www.odwyerpr.com/pr_firm_rankings/sports.htm):
1. Taylor, New York $10,492,501
2. French | West | Vaughan, Raleigh 5,092,539
3. Edelman, New York 2,750,249
4. Ruder Finn, New York 2,445,733
5. Coyne PR, Paramus, NJ 1,914,000
6. Gregory FCA, Ardmore, PA 1,589,300
7. Regan Communications Group, Boston 1,265,725
8. PadillaCRT, Minneapolis 988,330
9. CooperKatz & Co., New York 354,321
10. Sachs Media Group, Tallahassee, FL 320,090
It’s very important that Sports PR specialists have good writing and communication skills. These specialists have to address the media through press releases, websites, news articles, etc. Times have changed, and since social media came out, it’s very important they have skills in that area as well. Today, many people get their sports info via Twitter and Facebook since they display constant updates. Sports franchises and universities have created Facebook and Twitter accounts to address their fans of team news. Giving fans attention through social media including retweets and comments, creates a higher awareness for a sports team’s social media.
Sports PR is not an easy business to start out in, and even harder to be successful. Last year, I was able to interview Quinnipiac Professor Andrea Obston. She has her own PR firm and was able to tell me how the field of Sports PR works. She was able to give me a lot of insight, and described the field as a “dog eat dog” kind of field where there is lots of competition and requires a high level of commitment. Sports PR specialists usually work 60-80 hours a week (usually 7 days). It’s the kind of field where it’s important to be the first one to arrive at work and the last one to leave, to stand out and impress. The job being time consuming is not only the major con; the salaries are very low for entry positions. Low salaries can result in lack of motivation for many employees. Not only are the salaries low, but there’s also limited advancement. The best way to get a shot of advancement, is to transfer to another team or organization that is looking for someone to replace a certain job title, which also results in these professionals to move all over the place to get the job they want.
It seems very ironic that Sports PR seems to have more cons than pros. It is an industry that seems like it would be fun and exciting, but it’s a total grind that doesn’t really give the professionals the respect they deserve. This was a field I was very interested in pursuing when I started my education here at Quinnipiac. I am a PR major and have a minor in Sports Studies. However, the more I looked into this field I’m not too sure it was the right decision to take that route. It’s going to be hard to even find a decent job in Sports PR, especially with limited connections in that field. Plus the low salary really keeps me skeptical about taking a job in Sports PR. I now seem to be more interested in the field of Corporate PR.