Remember when you played on your high school football, basketball or golf team? Can you still see that incredible pass or shot that had everyone in your school talking about you? That’s when you knew that sports were your calling, but are they still?
Maybe your practice schedule has changed from hours of running or hitting on the range to typing on your computer for your class, but your love for sports has not. Participating in the world of sports PR is the dream of many former athletes studying communications, but it can be cutthroat and extremely competitive to get a spot on the team.
Even though the public relations field is expected to have a 7% increase in job growth in the coming years with a promising $134,790 median annual salary, the task of searching for a job and getting “drafted” to a good company or team can be daunting. So how do you do it?
Alexa Anderson, a former BYU student and now marketing communication manager for AMB Sports + Entertainment explains that entering the field of public relations with a freshly printed degree in hand can be challenging, especially when seeking to snag a job in the sports industry. There is no direct route for how to get to the big leagues of sports PR, but it is possible with the help of a mentor, networking, and applying tactics learned in class.
Find a coach.
Joining a team for sports PR is no different than being recruited for your sports team; you need a coach. Anderson contributes to a lot of campaigns and projects for AMB Sports + Entertainment but she did not enter this arena of work until after meeting with an old friend and mentor.
One lunch meeting and several follow up calls encouraged Anderson to edit her resume, contact the owner of AMB Sports + Entertainment, and prove with her portfolio that she was ready to compete on the company’s team. Thanks to the help of her mentor, or coach, Anderson made it through the recruiting phase and landed a job in sports communication.
Tip #1- Find a mentor to be your coach.
Talk to the other players.
From your sport playing years and college communication classes, you understand that communication with those on your team and around you are vital to your success. Same goes for landing a job in sports communication and maintaining good relations on your team. Anderson also suggests talking to as many people as possible and building connections with people within PR agencies and firms. She works with a group at AMB Sports + Entertainment made up of both her communication team and people of other disciplines. In their meetings they can share ideas and get more comprehensive viewpoints for strategizing a game plan for their company.
In addition, she recommends listening for the scouting report or how other companies and the public rank the sports PR firm. When communicating and interviewing for a position, Anderson advises that an applicant “know who is interviewing, be well-spoken, be confident, and try and find connection with alumni.”
Tip #2- Use your connections, make connections, and have a conversation with the other players so you know what to expect when signing on with the team.
Play by the playbook.
Once you make the team, it is time to perform. Your sports career has taught you that as soon as your feet hit the field, court, or course you are running and looking for opportunities to score. It is no different in the sports PR industry. Alexa Anderson says, “on your communications team, it is important that you remember your communications playbook of writing persuasively and concisely… strategizing, research, assessing things, making plans, executing plans, and writing your vision and goals.”
These are the plays that make up the common PR tactics learned in most college classrooms that are still applicable at work. Sticking to this playbook and PR strategies will assist in projects, campaigns, and internal and external communications for whatever team or company one is working with.
Tip #3- Play by the playbook.
The position you play in the game and how you practice your sports skills may be different, however working in sports PR can keep you active in the sports community. Securing a job in sports PR takes both time and effort as a newly graduated college student but with the help of a coach (mentor), talking to other players (networking) and playing by the playbook (with tactics learned in class) you can earn your spot on a successful sports communications team. Ultimately, your goal is not to just be in the game, but to win at the game.
Caroline Storm is from Austin, Texas. Following playing for a year at St. Edward’s University, in Austin, Texas on the women’s golf team, Caroline transferred to Brigham Young University where she is currently studying public relations. Caroline hopes to combine her passions of golf and communications into a career in sports PR following her graduation in April 2023.