September 17, 2021

The PR Industry in Sports

By Michael Lee

Now, more than ever, athletes are having to deal with external factors like social media and media interviews that can be mentally exhausting. Many of the successful sports teams and professional athletes receive public support from sports fans and other social media outlets. In return, they use public relations strategies to help maintain their relationship with them and the support the athletes receive. 

In the near future, the sports industry will continue to expand its operations and will have additional fans for years to come. Public relations in sports will help promote teams, individual players, as well as sports organizations through outlets and social media platforms. Overall, it aims to build and maximize a team or athlete’s image potential.

Public relations also helps foster relationships between players, and sometimes the media. The strong media connections matter in the sports and entertainment industry because it allows people to convey understanding, acceptance, and communication between the public and sports organizations. 

Beyond the court, sports public relations can positively affect an athlete’s life after sports. Having good public relations is one of the main reasons why athletes can create a career path outside of their sport. Players can easily increase their value and revenue by having a good reputation throughout the media in their career.

Another great benefit for athletes is that public relations can help them highlight personal strengths – especially if the individual lacks public speaking skills or communicating well with the media. A specialist can help athletes work on weaknesses, although it’s something we don’t see too often. Public relations allows sportsmen to expand their reach into areas outside of sports. They help them find industries that fit well with their skills and personalities that work well enough to build a career. Without the work of public relations specialists and firms, some amazing athletes wouldn’t have had as successful careers. Sometimes adding a second perspective can help build a better future for athletes that feel pressured. 

Although there are many positive sides to sports public relations, we recently saw Naomi Osaka withdraw from the French Open due to issues she had with the sports media. Osaka had criticized the press conference about their mandatory press conferences. She thought that it was harmful to players’ mental health and the competitive edge. Her last remarks stated that she would donate to a mental health charity if forced to pay a fine due to her complications with the media.

Instagram: @mlee_4 LinkedIn: Michael Lee

8 thoughts on “The PR Industry in Sports

  1. Hi Michael,
    I totally agree that every athlete should have someone that is familiar with PR on their team. In your article you brought up a great example of an athlete having a good PR. In my opinion Naomi Osaka looked like the bigger person in that situation and the French Open officials look like bullies for trying to Osaka to speaking to the media. They should have talked to her to try and work something out.

  2. Michael – well written to say the least. The PR industry is very relevant in sports today and it reminds me of the political side of that we see in the NBA/NFL nowadays. I am not sure that I agree with it, not is it my decision to make. However, the way we see sports changes everyday and it is interesting to watch the growth.

  3. Hi Michael. This is interesting content, and I also agree with you. The power of media really impacts athletes that we can see from the example of Naomi Osaki with her social anxiety. I feel social media change the culture of sports media now. Some opinions could speak out loud on social media. It can make an impact on athletes emotionally.

  4. You’re absolutely right! Sports and PR are a unique mix because of all of the press that comes with being an athlete. I took Sports PR here at UO and it opened my eyes to how involved PR is with sports outside of game coverage. There is a lot that comes with the territory and I can se from Osaki’s point of view what she meant, but it is something that will be impossible to work around.

  5. Hi, Michael. PR and marketing are the reason why the athletes are idolized and televised. Naomi needs to hire a publicist and stunt double. That would make global headlines and any press is good press!

  6. Hi Michael, great post! Public relations in sports has become incredibly important and useful for its athletes. Being in any kind of spotlight it’s important to utilize public relations people. I really like how you mention Naomi Osaka because that’s been super relevant in sports recently.

  7. You know Michael, you present such a great and compelling topic that I’m hurt I didn’t write about it myself. You noted some points that captured my eye such as the following: “public relations can positively affect an athlete’s life after sports. Having good public relations is one of the main reasons why athletes can create a career path outside of their sport. Players can easily increase their value and revenue by having a good reputation throughout the media in their career.” I think this is true on some degrees. Athletes establish their personal brands in high school and develop them throughout the whole development of their career, good public relations can create good value for an individual athletes brand.

  8. Michael, you present such a great and compelling topic that I’m hurt I didn’t write about it myself. You noted some points that captured my eye such as the following: “public relations can positively affect an athlete’s life after sports. Having good public relations is one of the main reasons why athletes can create a career path outside of their sport. Players can easily increase their value and revenue by having a good reputation throughout the media in their career.” I think this is true on some degrees. Athletes establish their personal brands in high school and develop them throughout the whole development of their career, good public relations can create good value for an individual athletes brand.

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