Public Relations in Sports

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Taylor Saraco
Professor Wolfe
Comm 201
22 April 2012

Does public relations in sports do more harm than good?

Professional and collegiate athletics have been becoming more and more popular every year. The problem is, it is not just the athletic aspect of the games that audiences are interested anymore. Every day people look for new gossip and/or scandals in the sports world, and unfortunately other people are giving them exactly what they want. The Public Relations industry was originally supposed to be used for managing the flow of information between an organization and its public audiences. The question is; is the industry doing more harm than good in this field today? Social media has gone out of control in modern day. From Facebook to Twitter, news (or rumors) travels at the speed of light. The problem is that most channels do not know the correct way to control a crisis or deliver information. Most of the time, this will result in exaggeration and scandal. If public relations classes are properly taught, there is a chance this problem can be avoided at some level. The article, “Public Relations Professionals As Shapers Of Public Information: The Role Of Theory In Their Education,” written by Dave Ogden, Chris Allen, and Joan Latchaw, discusses a survey which was used to find out whether majors in mass communication programs were required to study theory as part of the curriculum, and which theories were thought to be most important. The results showed that about 75% required students to study theory in some format. Mass communication theories such as public relations were identified as the most important. If this continues to be the case, people in the public relations industry will know how to deal with crisis, but that does not mean people will stop looking for scandal. Professional and Collegiate athletics are a business just like anything else. This means that there is a need for investors in athletics as well. When an investor is trying to decide whether or not something is going to be a successful investment, they study up. Investors will get their information through public relations channels and eventually make their decision based on statistics and perceptions. The paper, “The Value Of Public Relations In Investor Relations: Individual Investors’ Preferred Information Types, Qualities, And Sources,” by Timothy Penning, discusses a survey which targeted investors about the information which this specific public seeks and values. The results of the survey identified specific conditions associates with investors seeking sources of information considered to be public relations content which have value to the investors. This study proves that public relations communications content has significant value than information from news media and/or other sources in an investor relations context. One example of an investment in athletes would be the recent NFL Draft 2012, last week. Teams research players statistics which have been recorded over their college careers and decide if they think that individual would be an asset to their team. The investment comes into play when they pay the players’ salaries. During their research, they also look for any scandal such as difficulty listening to authority or drug (steroid) related issues. These would be pertinent whether or not a team decides to sign a player. When a team invests in a player, they are hoping to train them even more specifically to succeed with their own team. They would not want to waste time and money training an individual just to send them somewhere else to get more money. Public relations practice in sport is not always evident in the business today, it has much to offer. The paper, “Applying The Public Relations Function To The Business Of Sport,” written by Maria K. Hopwood, discusses the value of public relations to professional sports organizations. Cricket was chosen because although it does not enjoy the same popularity as soccer in the...
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