Exploring this Job
An informational interview with a publicist is a great way to learn more about this type of work and have your questions answered directly. Volunteer to handle various public relations-type duties for a school team or local sports teams or clubs. Run for student council or another leadership position at school to gain experience with public speaking and management. Read publications such as Sports Illustrated (https://www.si.com) and Sports Business Journal (https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal.aspx), and attend sporting events to stay current on sports knowledge. It is also a good idea to volunteer to assist your school's athletic department (in high school or college); you may be able to have a hand in developing a team's media guide or programs. Cover sports for your college newspaper so that you will have some clips to show employers.
Sports publicists perform a variety of duties during the course of a typical workday. They are responsible for all of the team's publicity, which includes news and feature releases, news conferences and background information, photography, videos, social media sites and the team or athlete's main Web site and social media sites, media interviews, and media tours. They also create and update the team's publications, including media guides, programs for all home games, schedule cards, recruiting kits, annual reports, and booster club newsletters.
Sports publicists also deal with game management, which includes announcers, scoreboard operations, telephone hook-ups, scorers, officiating facilities, press box seating and credentials, broadcast facilities, video facilities, and travel and lodging. They are in charge of generating crowd participation by developing promotions, giveaways, half-time exhibitions, and music. Publicists may help design the team's uniform insignia and team banners.
Sports information directors might have other responsibilities, such as creating and placing advertising, attending league meetings, conventions, and workshops, coordinating booster club activities, fund-raising, fan surveys, budgets, equipment negotiations, licensing, and merchandising. Unlike other public relations practitioners, most sports information directors promote their competition as well as the team they work for. The better the opposition, the better the fan interest and ticket sales.
Collegiate publicists might not be affiliated with the college or university's public relations department, but instead might be housed under the athletic department.
Publicists who work for athletes constantly create publicity and news events to get their clients into the spotlight. Many publicists try to show their clients in a positive light by having the athletes participate in goodwill appearances or work with organizations like the United Way. Maintaining a positive image increases the athletes' potential income and market value.