Unit 11: Sports & Entertainment Communications

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Sports & Entertainment Marketing

Unit Eleven Outline, 2014-15 School Year

Unit 11:

Sports & Entertainment Communications

The topics covered in unit eleven introduce the various components of sports and entertainment communications including publicity, public relations, community relations and media relations. A key concept discussed is the integration of publicity with the sponsorship component of the sports and entertainment business model, as well as aligning publicity plans with promotional and sales efforts. Unit eleven also examines the various methods organizations employ to effectively communicate information about their products and services with customers, media and fans.



1) Explain why sports and entertainment communications are important

2) Define publicity

3) Differentiate between publicity, public relations, media relations and community relations

4) Identify the three approaches to media relations

5) Describe the three ways community relations programs are implemented

6) Name the six functions of sports and entertainment communications

7) Explain how publicity impacts other areas of sports and entertainment business

8) Create a press release with all its essential elements

9) Recognize the types of information typically included in press kits

10) Understand some of the social issues that impact the business of sports and entertainment



Lesson 11.1 Sports & Entertainment Communications

Lesson 11.2 Publicity

Lesson 11.3 Functions of Sports & Entertainment Communications

Lesson 11.4 Integrating Publicity

Lesson 11.5 The Publicity Plan

Lesson 11.6 Press Releases

Lesson 11.7 Press Kits

Lesson 11.8 Social Issues in Sports and Entertainment


Community Relations Ethics Foundation

Goodwill Media Relations Press Release

Public Relations Publicity Publicity Stunt

Lesson 11.1

Sports & Entertainment Communications

  1. Sports and entertainment information

    1. Provides specific news as it pertains to sports teams and organizations, events and all other forms of entertainment

    2. Could include event schedules, player statistics, actor profiles etc.

  2. Sources of sports and entertainment information

    1. Any news or media outlet is a potential source of sports and entertainment information

      1. MTV, Sports Illustrated, Jim Rome radio show, movies.com, USA Today

    2. Almost any type of information an individual could want is accessible through the media

      1. Radio, TV, Print, Online

  3. Role of sports and entertainment communications in SEM

    1. The role of a communications staff employed by a sports or entertainment organization is to effectively disseminate information for the benefit of the business

    2. Communications staff plays an integral role in the shaping and management of the organization’s image

  4. Who is SID?

    1. SID is a sports organization’s (most often a college) Sports Information Director

    2. SID can present his/her self in many forms, including PR Director, Communications Director, Media Director or a host of other official titles 1

    3. SID is responsible for all communications relating to the organization

  5. Publicity plays an even more crucial role to a sports and entertainment organization’s success in the age of the Internet 2

    1. The world of public relations has changed drastically, especially for entertainers whose careers are based on gaining and keeping public opinion

    2. How else has technology and the Internet shifted trends in the entertainment business climate? 2

      1. Musicians can now start a career entirely over the Internet using a web site and a strategic online marketing plan

        1. From weekend warriors to independent bands and Grammy-winning artists, thousands of musicians have embraced social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube to upload material, promote tour dates and albums while interacting with fans in an effort to build and/or grow a fan base

          1. A Nielson Music 360 report suggests that YouTube is the primary method for discovering new music amongst teenagers today

        2. Internet radio station Pandora boasts more than 250 million users and has played more than 100,000 unique artists and over 1 million unique songs 3

        3. Through software applications like garageband, users can learn how to play songs from famous artists like Sting, Fall Out Boy and Colbie Caillat

          1. Mark Foster, lead singer of Foster the People, wrote and recorded (playing all the instruments himself) the song “Pumped Up Kicks” in just one day using Apple’s popular Logic Pro software. After the demo went viral on the web, the song climbed the charts and eventually became a fan anthem at the band’s typically sold-out concerts.

        4. Justin Bieber was originally “discovered” by a talent executive on YouTube when he was searching for new talent online. Pop stars Justin Timberlake and Usher would later engage in a bidding war to sign Bieber (he eventually signed with Usher). 4

      1. Actors, artists and celebrities engage with fans using social media to promote albums and films, create buzz and dispel rumors

        1. In 2013, popular indie rock band, Arcade Fire, announced a release date for their new album by simply replying to a fan’s message on Twitter after a fan had tweeted to the band, saying “you’re my favorite” (the tweet was later re-tweeted almost 2,500 times) 5

      2. Movie studio executives have the ability to place movie trailers online for people to download on their home computers or mobile devices

        1. Online, consumers can watch or download trailers for upcoming films like the highly anticipated 2014 release of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’

      3. Fans can discuss topics surrounding their favorite entertainers and celebrities on web sites like www.IMDB.com and read movie reviews with apps like Rotten Tomatoes

    1. The instant accessibility provided by social media applications like Twitter creates new challenges for sports and entertainment communications professionals

      1. Sports and entertainment organizations have less control now over the flow of information between the organization and its fans

        1. Legendary Yankees captain Derek Jeter announced that he would be retiring after the 2014 baseball season via Facebook 6

          1. Click here to read the transcript of the official announcement posted on Jeter’s Facebook page

        2. In 2014, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly found out that he had been traded to the Boston Red Sox by following Twitter

        3. In 2013, rather than having the studio issue a press release, actor Sylvester Stallone took to Twitter to announce that Bruce Willis was no longer a part of the upcoming film, ‘The Expendables 3’, and that Harrison Ford would replace him

        4. The advent of social media has forced sports properties to evolve and embrace a new generation of fan communications

          1. Major League Baseball debuted the “140 Club” in 2012, a curated Twitter service that compiles a list of MLB-related tweets in one spot for fans to see what the world is saying about baseball and what baseball is saying about the world

          2. In 2013, rather than issuing a formal press release, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey shared a "thank you" message on Twitter with two players who had just been released (Carolos Delfino and Aaron Brooks) as the team was working to clear cap space so they could sign star free agent, Dwight Howard

          3. Several major universities like North Carolina, Nebraska and Oklahoma pay $7,000 to $10,000 a year to a company called Varsity Monitor, who then keeps a watchful eye on the social media activity of the school’s athletes

Now would be a good time to poll the class to see whether they think universities should be allowed to contract with a company like Varsity Monitor to keep an eye on social activity of collegiate athletes. Ask students to consider the implications from the school’s perspective if one of their athletes engages in controversial activity online.

      1. Meanwhile, athletes and celebrities now enjoy a unique platform to communicate directly with fans, providing a medium for delivering unfiltered opinions and dialogue

        1. Christina Aguilera announced the name of her newborn baby daughter through Twitter in 2014

        2. LeBron James polled fans on Instagram after announcing the decision to return to Cleveland whether he should wear the number 6 (the same number he wore in Miami) or if he should return to the same number 23 which he originally wore in Cleveland

          1. No sooner did LeBron change back to 23 did the NBA store sell out of all James’ replica Cavs home, away & alternate jerseys, ranging from $65 to $300

        3. Relief pitcher John Axford had some fun with Twitter after changing jerseys in 2014 to thank Cleveland Indians fans for the support while embracing his new fan base (Pittsburgh Pirates) by dressing up as a pirate and posting a picture with the hashtag #AhoyPittsburgh

      2. Social media can also create headaches for both the organization and/or the athlete/celebrity when the individual posts a controversial message

        1. Several Olympic athletes were sent home from the 2012 Games by the International Olympic Committee after posting racially insensitive tweets 7

        2. Some organizations have taken a stance against social media use by its athletes, like the Florida State’s football coach Jimbo Fisher, who chose to implement a new team policy in 2012 prohibiting players from using Twitter

        3. Some organizations have taken a stance against social media use by its athletes, like Iowa’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery, who chose to implement a new team policy in 2014 prohibiting players from using Twitter after one of the team’s players exchanged barbs with fans

        4. In 2013, the UFC announced they had indefinitely suspended and fined Nate Diaz for a derogatory comment the lightweight fighter made on Twitter

Lesson 11.2


  1. Publicity

    1. Publicity is public information about a company/team, good, or service appearing in the mass media as a news item at no cost to the organization 8

      1. When Roger Ebert reviews a movie on his television show, that particular motion picture is gaining publicity

      2. When musicians perform at award shows or other major events, they are generating publicity

        1. Following Bruno Mars' Super Bowl halftime performance in 2014, the singer’s music immediately shot up the Billboard's charts with sales of his second album, "Unorthodox Jukebox," shooting up 180% and his first album, "Doo-Wops & enjoying an incredible increase of 303% (according to billboard.com) 9

    2. In the world of sports and entertainment communication, publicity is generated and defined by three primary components

      1. Public relations

      2. Media relations

      3. Community relations

    3. Publicity is essentially a by-product of those three components

    4. Organizations use publicity as a vehicle to increase sales

    5. Disadvantages of publicity

      1. Publicity cannot be controlled by the organization

        1. For example, Roger Ebert may give a particular film a negative review, discouraging consumers from purchasing tickets and going to the theater

      2. Perceived as more credible than advertising

  2. Public relations

    1. Public relations are activities that promote the image and communications an organization has with its employees, customers and public 9

    2. Often times referred to as “fan” relations in the sports industry

  3. Media relations

    1. Media relations refers to the relationship between an organization and the media 10

    2. The goal of media relations is to develop and maintain a positive relationship with mass media outlets 10:45 AM - 29 Jul 13 · Details

    3. Media’s impact on sports and entertainment publicity efforts

      1. “Magnifying glass effect” of media coverage 11

        1. This effect refers to the constant media coverage of newsworthy events taking place, as well as the reactions and interpretations of those events by other sources

        2. Click here to read a 2013 story published on awfulannouncing.com’s website suggesting the “TMZization of sports is now complete”, criticizing news outlets like ESPN for focusing on gossip or celebrity driven stories rather than covering real sports news

      2. Featuring sports and entertainment news related items has proven to be profitable for media organizations

        1. Increases circulation

        2. Boosts ratings

        3. Amplifies number of readers/listeners

      3. A media blitz is a term used to reference an intense communications campaign which utilizes various aspects of media to reach as many consumers as possible

        1. Every year, the NBA engages in a daylong media blitz to kick off coverage of the NBA All-Star Game and the celebrity-driven events that surround the game

        2. In 2012, the Canadian Football League launched the largest media blitz in league history by spending more than $10 million to promote the 100th anniversary of the CFL’s championship game (the Grey Cup). The effort included a national tour that brought the championship trophy to 100 communities throughout the country, government issuance of Grey Cup coins, and the Canadian postal system issuing 50 million CFL branded stamps. 12

    4. What effect on an organization can media relations have? How can publicity and the media impact a sports or entertainment brand?

      1. A perception exists that the media has a tendency to seek out and report stories with negative connotations implicating sports and entertainment organizations, celebrities and athletes

      2. Many factors influence this journalistic tendency

        1. Inflated contracts of athletes and entertainers (some which have a tendency to flaunt their riches)

          1. Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera made almost double the yearly median household income in Detroit with every single at-bat during the 2014 season

c:\users\chris\desktop\stopsign4c.gif * DISCUSSION IDEA * c:\users\chris\desktop\stopsign4c.gif
Try to extrapolate the previous example regarding Miguel Cabrera with students. See if they know what a yearly median income is, then see if it resonates how much the Tigers’ star really earns when you put it into that perspective.

          1. Boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather, who earned $105 million last year and topped Forbes’ annual list of the World’s wealthiest athletes for the second year in a row, told USA Today in a story that his hobby is “collecting money” and lives in a 22,000-foot home with multiple garages for his collection of sports cars 13

          2. Former NFL star turned analyst Deion Sanders tweeted his jubilation in 2013 after recovering his $15,000 dog that had been kidnapped 14

          3. Oprah Winfrey, worth an estimate $2.9 billion and earning $300 million per year according to celebritynetworth.com, caused a stir when she accused a shop owner in Switzerland of refusing to show her a $38,000 hand bag that she was interested in purchasing

        1. Drugs and alcohol

          1. In 2014, pro golfer Dustin Johnson announced that he was taking a leave of absence from the PGA Tour while golf.com reported that the leave was allegedly due, at least in part, to substance abuse 15

          2. In 2014, acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a drug overdose after struggling with addictions to cocaine, heroin and other prescription drugs

          3. Two of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ primary offensive players (running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount) were charged with marijuana possession (and Bell with Driving Under the Influence) the night before a 2014 NFL pre-season game

        2. Gambling

          1. In 2012, a California man plead guilty to federal charges that he was part of a betting ring involving the University of San Diego's basketball team who allegedly paid a former player to throw games as part of the scheme 16

          2. Officials say the illegal betting market generates hundreds of billions of dollars every year, and the International Olympic Committee goes to great lengths to prevent events from being “fixed.” Sports betting is perfectly legal in the United Kingdom, and is considered a legitimate part of the national economy but, in 2012, the country’s gambling establishments partnered with government officials leading up to the London Games to report and prevent any event fixing. The BBC reported that Olympic organizers also set up an intelligence team to monitor suspicious betting patterns and tip the government with any information on individuals that may have attempted to fix Olympic events. 17

        3. Violence

          1. In 2012, boxer Floyd Mayweather spent two months in prison resulting from his guilty plea to domestic violence charges

          2. In 2013, USA Today reported that, according to NFL players, roughly three-quarters of NFL players owned guns, compared with 40% to 45% of households in the general population, according to the National Rifle Association (no actual statistical data exists on gun ownership among NFL players exists, and league spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today that the estimates were "a wild guess." 18

          3. In June of 2014, The NBA suspended Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton on Thursday for the first four games of the season after his guilty plea in a New York gun case

          4. In 2104, NFL star Ray Rice was suspended by the league for two games because of a domestic assault charge involving his wife (a penalty many felt was insufficient)

            1. Click here to see a video clip with media reaction to the suspension

        4. Performance Enhancing Drugs (Steroids)

          1. The use of steroids and performance enhancing sports has been well chronicled in recent years with prominent Major League Baseball, track and field and cycling athletes having their legacies tainted by alleged drug use. The issue has also crossed over to the entertainment industry when rappers 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Wyclef and Timbaland were mentioned in connection with a New York steroid report. 19

            1. Click here to read a 2013 report from the Hollywood Reporter on the usage of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) among elite actors

          2. In 2013, after years of vehemently denying doping allegations, cycling sensation Lance Armstrong came clean and admitted to using performance enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career during an interview with Oprah Winfrey

          3. In 2013, former Major League Baseball MVP Ryan Braun was suspended 65 games for using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) while Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez was suspended for 162 games, including the entire 2014 season, because of prior offenses

          4. A 2009 Marist College Center for Sports Communication poll suggested that 70% of baseball fans thought players who used steroids should not be admitted to the Hall of Fame, 24% believed they should be given this honor, and 6%, at the time, were unsure 21

            1. Fast forward to 2013, when Marist conducted a poll asking the same questions just prior to MLB’s suspensions of those involved in the Biogenesis case, and 78% now think players who have used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs should not be eligible for the Hall of Fame, 18% think they should, and just 4% are unsure. 21

          5. In a poll conducted by NPR in 2013 just after news of the Biogenesis scandal, 43% of respondents said they’d be “less likely to buy a ticket to a game (when asked “Do the allegations about baseball players' use of performance-enhancing drugs make you?”) 22

              1. Click here for the complete results and of the 2013 Marist Poll

          6. David Howman, the chief executive of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said in an interview that he believes one out of every ten athletes Olympic athletes are using performance enhancing drugs 23

        5. Escalating costs for attending events

          1. A whopping 63 percent of respondents to an Associated Press poll suggested that the high price of attending MLB games was “by far the biggest problem in Major League Baseball” 24

          2. Nearly half (49%) of fans polled in Sacramento about Kings’ ticket prices for the new downtown arena suggested that, “Yes, the team plans to cater mostly to high-income customers”

          3. The latest Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index report suggest that, on average, the cost of a family of four attending a Boston Red Sox game is $358.78, a nearly 8% increase over last year (figure includes 2 adult tickets, 2 child tickets, 4 small soft drinks, 2 beers, 4 hot dogs, 2 programs, parking, 2 adult-size caps) 25

            1. Comparatively, according to Minor League Baseball, the average cost for a family of four to enjoy a MiLB game in 2014 season was $63.55 (price included parking, two adult tickets, two child tickets, four hot dogs, two sodas, two beers and a program or scorecard), helping to position itself as “one of the best budget-friendly options in sports” 26

          4. According to the Sports Business Journal, average ticket prices for entertainment include: Broadway show ($88), Disney (adult $85), NFL ($77), NHL ($57), NBA ($48), MLB ($27) 27

To see a complete listing of Team Marketing Report’s Fan Cost Index for Major League Baseball in 2014, access the student handouts provided on your CD-ROM. The files are can be found in the lesson 11.2 folder on the CD labeled “Lesson 11.2 - Student Handout - MLB FCI.” The latest fan cost index reports for the NHL, NBA and NFL are also available in the folder.

        1. Recruiting violations and other unethical behavior in collegiate sports

          1. After a two year investigation, the University of Oregon football program was penalized by the NCAA for rules infractions tied to illegal recruiting practices and also placed an 18 month ban on former head coach Chip Kelly (now with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles) from coaching at a NCAA affiliated program

          2. According to a 2014 report on dallasnews.com, SMU men’s golf coach Josh Gregory’s resigned after NCAA rules violations were uncovered, including sending impermissible text messages to recruits and giving school apparel such as caps to prospects

      1. Each respective league or governing body/organization has their own guidelines for discipline, however, intense media scrutiny often makes such punishments seem insufficient to the general public, creating further fan disenchantment

        1. While many felt the sanctions against the University of Oregon were not harsh enough (an ESPN columnist referred to the punishment as a mere “slap on the wrist”), one year after the Penn State sanctions were announced, many wondered if the NCAA penalties levied against Penn State were too harsh (an ESPN poll suggested that 63% of fans felt the NCAA should modify or reduce its penalties against the school) 28

      2. Athletes and entertainers have a unique platform to involve themselves in a positive manner within the community. It is the responsibility of an athlete or celebrity (or sports/entertainment property) to direct media attention toward these efforts.

      3. Many teams, organizations, leagues, athletes and entertainers do an excellent job of using the media to communicate positive contributions

        1. Those organizations who successfully communicate positive messages have an effective community relations strategy

    1. Three approaches to media relations 29

      1. Reactive

        1. Responds to informational and other inquiries from media sources and external entities

        2. Player interviews, appearances, biographies, profiles etc.

      2. Proactive

        1. The point of initiation is the organization rather than an external entity or media source

        2. Organizations take the initiative in providing information and creating publicity

        3. Distribution of press kits, press releases

      3. Interactive

        1. Refers to an organization’s effort to create and maintain a strong relationship with the media

  1. Community Relations

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