Overcoming PR challenges in the sporting fraternity

by | Jun 29, 2020 | Public Relations

Let’s take a detailed look at the importance of public relations in the sporting fraternity in order to understand exactly what these clever professionals can do with the best fit solution. It’s the job of the sporting PR to look after a club and its athletes, but how do they do it?

Great PRs whip up interest in the club and manage the fan base and, in turn, manage the appearance of the individual or club they represent. Sounds easy but it’s not.

Bums on seats

Just like any other business, it’s about revenue—bums on seats. Some sports fans may think it’s a religion but actually it’s big business: and all big businesses need looking after. Helping to maintain a great reputation and ethos for your brand is the PR’s job—and it’s not easy.

In a lot of cases, sports stars are role models and celebrities; therefore they need their images looked after and maintained in order to continue to bring in the big bucks. When things change, players switch clubs, or clubs acquire new sponsors, careful collaboration of the media is often required. That’s the PR’s specialty.

Overcoming PR challenges in the sporting fraternity

Attracting sponsorship

If a club is running low on funds and needs a financial boost, PR’s can spring into action; providing a solution that can help bridge the financial gap.

Professional sports PRs will write a persuasive proposal to help the club get a lucrative sponsorship deal, or organise a press conference to ask for a sponsorship deal. When you get that fabulous deal they will help the club with favourable publicity in order to attract the deal. A great PR is always one step ahead.

Manage your reputation

Once upon a time, nothing got into the media unless a PR wanted it to. Nowadays with smartphones and celebrity-bashing websites offering money for gossip, your hard-working PR can, and will, manage your athlete’s reputation and, in turn, that of the club.

A great PR knows what to look for to prevent a crisis and keep the sponsors happy. No more drunk tweets when your PR is managing social media. Although in some camps bad publicity is better than no publicity.

Just look at the bad boy images of some basketball players; the image helped to sell millions of pairs of trainers worldwide. A good PR will know the value of publicity and be able to decide if a little controversy is acceptable and worth the payoff.

Overcoming PR challenges in the sporting fraternity

Social media is PR’s secret weapon

Social media has changed the way we interact with our audience, and a great PR professional likes a bit of banter and loves some spin. After all, communication is their thing.

With this in mind, the social media manager will talk to fans, share team announcements, even live tweet from a game or ceremony. Sharing short clips on social media is a favourite. Being able to watch that goal over and over again is amazing publicity; and an opportunity that no PR worth his salts would miss.

Followers need feeding to keep them engaged: so updates on injuries or substitutions and, of course, the starting line-up is very popular. Managed in the right way it will build your following which, in turn, gets you more sponsorship.

Fans love a shout out and a great social media manager knows this. A retweet to a fan from the club’s official account is great, but a retweet from an athlete or player is golden. Let’s not forget the sponsor. Social media keeps them and their brand up to date and in the public eye: so it’s a win-win.

A great professional public relations team is worth its weight in gold, particularly when it comes to the sporting fraternity. All that adrenaline and endorphins swimming around can sometimes lead to some interesting behaviour; and while it’s great for the spectators, your PR has to keep their eye on the prize so you don’t have to.

PRs know how to make your brand look good and make your supporters feel included, valued and respected. Who doesn’t want that?

Jo-Ann Coetzee
Jo-Ann Coetzee is an Organic Search Executive at Cape Town, South Africa-based The Media Image.


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