Why PR Professionals Need to Pay Attention to the Social Media Revolution in the Sports Industry

The business of sports is a complex and sophisticated web of relationships.

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By Krishna Athal

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In a nutshell, a sports organization provides services, which it must sell to prospective business partners and sponsors. The organization must continually convince sponsors by showing it has something profitable to offer. Furthermore, a sports organization's predicted success is a determining factor for receiving funds, the number of fans and media coverage, thus affecting sponsors' visibility. In short, a sports organization needs sponsors, and sponsors need visibility and media channels.

Considering these relationships, the PR department of a sports organization must create and maintain the organization's corporate success.

Related: 5 Social Media Marketing Tips to Boost Your Sales

The role of PR and social media in a sports organization

The PR department of a sports organization must be conscious of the relationship with the media since it is an effective way to spread its message to different people. Nonetheless, media does not only comprise traditional means, like newspaper, radio and television; it also extends to the internet, which, in recent times, includes social media. Over the last decade, social media has been the buzzword on tongues of public relations practitioners, marketers, celebrities, business owners, sports organizations and the public.

The exchange of information and conversations on online social networks ideally produces favorable publicity for sports organizations. Consecutively, the favorable publicity tends to lead to increased awareness about the sports organization, which translates to an increase in revenue. Nowadays, the role of public relations practitioners in sport organizations has changed to become positive content creators for the organization on social media.

Related: 8 Simple Ways to Make Social Media Work for Your Business

The social media models used by sports organizations

Sports organizations commonly use two social media models to turn information currency into organizational revenue. They are the press agentry and publicity model in which public relations practitioners try to bring on as much publicity as possible for their sports organizations. Furthermore, a press release has been an essential tool for decades for PR practitioners in the sports industry. The formatting has been definite and pre-set with a headline on the center-top, contact information on the bottom left corner and For Immediate Release on the top right. However, with the rapid growth of social media — where messages could be transferred to every corner of the world with text, pictures, and videos — many PR professionals shifted from traditional press releases to Social Media Releases (SMR).

Though many PR practitioners in the sports industry believe that SMR should replace the traditional press release, newsrooms and PR professionals should develop more informative, timely, accurate and less corporate press releases. The SMR revolution has led PR practitioners to include hyperlinks, pictures, videos, audio and social media contact information in releases. Reporters find these news releases more in-depth and digestible. At the same time, sports organizations have made social media monitoring their top priority since the public can post opinions openly. Ultimately, the main goal of social media engagement is to connect different public sectors — fans, athletes, sponsors and media — to the sports entity and spectacles that the entity offers in its services.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

Krishna Athal
A recipient of numerous leadership and innovation awards, Krishna Athal has a BA in business and enterprise, an MBA in leadership and management and is currently a PhD candidate in leadership and entrepreneurship.

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