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Contemporary sport is a huge global enterprise which necessitates that sports organisations operate as businesses. An increasingly important element of sport business is the management of the myriad of relationships in which sport entities are involved. It is the relationship management aspect of sport which is the unique focus of this book. Sport Public Relations and Communication is the first book to explore public relations and communications in the sports industry in a global context. It brings together applicable strategies for the sport management or marketing student, and provides a concise guide to how public relations and communications strategies and principles can be applied to sport management and marketing issues. This book discusses and reformulates the principles of public relations and communications by demonstrating how they can be successfully applied in practice within a sports context. * Discussion is customized to apply directly to sports management, thoroughly exploring the nuances of the field * Case studies are used throughout the book to illustrate the practical application of theory * Discussion questions help to formulate and articulate defensible arguments in relation to public relations and communications strategies, forging strong links between theory and practice * Examples used draw from the authors' extensive experience in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia and New Zealand, providing a well rounded and global understanding of the field.
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From Maria Hopwood, James Skinner and Paul Kitchin, Bringing public relations and
communication, Sport Public Relations and Communication, 1st ed, Butterworth-Heinemann,
2010, pp. 1-12.
ISBN: 9781856176156
Copyright 2010, Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Butterworth-Heinemann is an Imprint of Elsevier
Author's personal copy
Bringing Public Relations
and Communication
Studies to Sport
Maria Hopwood
Leeds Metropolitan University
Paul Kitchin
University of Ulster
James Skinner
Griffith University
In March 2009, the Sri Lankan cricket team toured Pakistan for a series of
matches. On route to a match at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore the team and
their International Cricket Council (ICC) test match umpires were attacked
by terrorists. The two buses carrying each group were targeted and eight
playing staff of the Sri Lankan team were injured. Sadly a driver and six local
police officers were killed in the attack, as well as nine policemen were
seriously injured. Later that day match referee Chris Broad, one of the
umpires in the second vehicle, addressed the media to respond to the growing
pressure for details of the attack. Referee Broad was scathing in his criticism
of the security arrangements provided to the umpires and the visiting team.
As a key stakeholder of the ICC, Broad’s comments added to the pressure on
the event hosts (the Pakistan Cricket Board) and also on his organisation
through his action. It is remarkable that a senior employee of an organisa-
tion, who could realistically be expected to be in a state of shock, was able to
address the media without his statements being approved by the ICC public
relations and communication officers. His comments started a public verbal
confrontation with the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket, Ejaz Butt who did little
Sport Public Relations and Communication
Copyright Ó2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Author's personal copy
to ease the situation. The situation exposed operational procedures con-
cerning the safety and security of players and officials. However, it also
exposed a serious flaw in the public relations and communication strategies
of not only the ICC, but also some of its key stakeholders – the national
cricket organisations that play in its tournaments.
Formula 1 racing has always been a cavalier sport where technology and
passion meet in the desire to win. Unfortunately, in the recent past the sport
has suffered from some cavalier management techniques. In 2007 the
McLaren team was fined $100 million for spying on the rivals, Ferrari. At
the start of the 2009 season the same team was involved in an incident
where race stewards were lied to about the use of less-than-legal tactics.
However, an incident at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix was described by
sport writer Simon Barnes as ‘the worst single piece of cheating in the history
of sport’ (Barnes, 2009,online). In brief, Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr was
part of a conspiracy with team principal Flavio Briatore and his number two
Pat Symonds to crash his car on the Singapore circuit allowing his
unknowing teammate to win the race (FIA, 2009). The crash brought out the
yellow (caution) flags and allowed the teammate to effectively get his pit-stop
strategy correct and therefore win. The public relations (PR) dilemma of this
incident does not just affect the team involved in the incident but the entire
sport, its fans, sponsors and partners and the governing authority of the sport
itself (Fe
´ration Internationale de l’Automobile – FIA). The sport is
a network of organisations that creates one of the world’s most watched
sporting events. Despite the furore over the race-fixing a number of stake-
holders took action to minimise the PR dilemma of the incident. First,
Renault’s major sponsor Dutch bank ING and partner Spanish insurer
Mutua Madrilena withdrew their sponsorship immediately after FIA estab-
lished wrong-doing to disassociate themselves from the team. However, this
may have been premature as the corporation Renault ensured that the F1
team Renault responded immediately to the investigation by sacking Briatore
and Symonds and ensuring that all staff cooperated with the government
body’s enquiry (Piquet had been released by the organisation in July). Also the
governing body FIA released its findings to the press to ensurethe justifica-
tion for its decision, ultimately to keep the team in the competition on
a suspended sentence, which would allay fears of a whitewash or cover up and
maintain the sport’s integrity. This decision was in no small part due to the
management of relationships within the sport that can be enhanced by sound
public relations and communication principles. Both the sport and the
Renault team are tarred by this event, however, steps have been taken to
repair these reputations.
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It is clear from the above examples that there is a need for further
development of public relations and communication strategies, knowledge
and understanding of the management of sport. As seen in the above situa-
tions, even successful international sporting organisations have a need for
well-honed practices. The coordinated implementation of sport public rela-
tions through sport communication methods can minimise the negative
impacts on the organisation’s publics occurring.
There is no doubt that sport has transformed over the last 30 years. At the
elite end of the sport continuum it has become a complex commercial enter-
prise, while at the ‘participation’ end it has become quite sophisticated in
marketing its activities to local communities. As a consequence, sport
marketing is now a recognised and rapidly developing sector with universities
offering sport marketing degrees. However, the one area where sport marketing
is underdeveloped is in public relations and communication strategies. For the
most part, sport management students have been forced to go to the generic
management literature to further their understanding. In many respects this
has not been a bad thing, but it often means that some of the ‘nuances’ and
special features of sport arenot given sufficient focus. This book customises its
discussion of public relations and communications so that it is directly rele-
vant to the sport management student. It provides a concise guide as to how
public relations and communication strategies and principles can be applied to
sport management and marketing issues and problems. In short, it demon-
strates how the principles of public relations and communications can be
successfully applied in practice within a sport context (Stewart, 2002).
The book is structured to address the wide and varied activities in sport
organisations that public relations and communications can develop in order
to achieve wider business objectives. Underpinning all of these themes is an
acknowledgement that sport organisations rely on a network of partners and
publics that constitutes stakeholders. Each chapter is structured around
a common approach consisting of learning outcomes, a presentation of the
chapter’s key terms, an overview of the chapter and the main body. The main
body consists of a discussion of the theory of public relations and commu-
nications within non-sport business and sport business situations. Each
chapter contains a case or a number of cases to highlight how various orga-
nisations and their stakeholders are utilising the Sport Public Relations and
Communications (SPRC) function to achieve their objectives. Following the
main body is a series of discussion questions that can allow the reader to
extend their understanding and critically reflect on the chapter’s main points.
The reader is also directed towards suggested readings and supporting web-
sites that assist in developing further the chapter content.
Bringing Public Relations and Communication Studies to Sport 3
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This chapter serves to provide the theoretical basis for this publication.
Maria Hopwood provides an overview of PR theory and practice that is
encapsulated initially as organisations doing the right things at the right
time. By establishing the basis of PR activity as a crucial management
activity Hopwood provides a crucial distinction as to how the public
perceptions of PR have been tainted by its past associations with propaganda
and its current connotation with spin. Following a series of definitions on
PR that covers the academic and practitioner environments, the author
presents a critique of how well-managed PR can be used to convert negative
situations into positive ones. The second part of the chapter examines the
background to the two key areas of the textbook. Sport Public Relations and
Sport Communications is all about relationships, which is a theme that
runs throughout the book. However, Hopwood here defines it as a separate
form of sport communication as the former is the activities by which rela-
tionships are managed and the latter is the modes of media that are chosen.
This distinction is highlighted through a case study on the England and
Wales Cricket Board’s development of Twenty20 cricket in 2003 and its
subsequent success.
David Shilbury and Katherine Rowe address the importance of managing the
relationship with the sport organisation’s stakeholders and publics. Their
chapter begins with an overview of why a strategic approach to relationship
management is essential. They stress that difficulties arise when organisa-
tions view their publics as static and assume that they will respond
predictably to certain events and situations. Sport organisations should
manage their publics through a strategic approach to relationship manage-
ment that can minimise these eventualities. The chapter then focuses on
Ledingham’s (2003) work on organisation–public relationships and the
importance of management consideration of strategic publics. The work
required by organisations to develop relationships with these strategic
publics may be time- and resource-consuming; however, these efforts can
offer the sport organisations benefits over the long term. The case study
highlights such a situation where the Canterbury Bulldogs RLF Club used
SPRC to sustain its relationship with its key strategic publics; its fans. The
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case addresses how this was done through a five-step process that saw the
club increase its attendances in light of its situation. The chapter concludes
with an overview of the importance of relationship management in the
context of sport outlining some of the key authors in the area and providing
a platform for further study and investigation.
Chapter 4 serves to introduce the concept of sport marketing public
relations (SMPR) and its place within the management and marketing of
sporting organisations. Hopwood serves up the SMPR Rugby Ball model
which represents the environment and context for the collection of
marketing communication-related activities and presents where SMPR is
positioned within the organisation. This is highlighted in the case of
Durham County Cricket Club which forms one of two chapter cases.
Following this is the application of Harris’ (1993) key areas where tradi-
tional marketing public relations (MPR) (sans Sport) is applied to the sport
industry. Hopwood then concludes with an examination of one of the key
issues within this text. That of how does sport public relations and
communications differ from the practices of sport marketing.
Despite the increasing commercialisation and professionalisation of sporting
practices organisations need to consider their impact on their wider inter-
national, national and local communities. James Skinner discusses the
importance of adhering to principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR)
for organisations in wishing to examine their community impact. The author
extends Carroll’s (1979) model of CSR to the sporting industry to provide an
overview of sport social responsibility and the resultant SPRC benefits that
arise from such an approach. Through a discussion of economic, legal,
ethical and discretionary responsibilities, Skinner addresses how sporting
organisations across the globe are positioning their work for CSR goals. This
is highlighted in two cases, the first on the National Football League (NFL)
and their use of the Super Bowl to produce public relations benefits for the
game as a whole and the second case demonstrates how English football has
repositioned itself through its national governing association, the Football
Association (FA), to engage with CSR activities.
Sport Social Responsibility 5
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Throughout the local, national and international there are many examples of
how sport organisations do good work in local and international communi-
ties. Paul Kitchin and Rob Lewis address the importance of using SPRC to
highlight these community relations and engagement situations. The
development of community programmes of sport organisations or the sport-
related community programmes of non-sport organisations has led to
increasing media clutter for good news stories. Many organisations are yet to
use this work to reach its potential benefits through the strategic application
of SPRC in order to break this clutter. The first case focuses on the challenges
that exist for a small not-for-profit sport organisation implementing SPRC on
minimal resources. The case highlights how an organisation of this size
works with partners and agencies to provide sport activities that compliment
the work of partners and hence provide SPRC opportunities throughout these
partnerships. Capitalising on community involvement organisations can look
to develop cause-related marketing (cause-RM) initiatives that use sport and
physical activities to achieve a number of organisational goals. Many of these
initiatives have been developed due to the rise of socially conscious
consumers (Webster, 1975), more recently known as the ethical consumers.
The second case study in this chapter focuses on two such programmes. Both
programmes aimed to get young people active to increase long-term partic-
ipation, however, the specifications of the programme highlighted how the
SPRC benefits can vary. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the
management implications for cause-RM and other community programme
B. Christine Green and Lawrence Chalip examine how the SPRC function
can be used to assist in the recruitment and retention of volunteers and how
these volunteers can be used to achieve a range of benefits for the sport
organisation. The authors’ focus on how volunteer involvement can be
beneficial not only for making volunteers feel more valued but also for
heightening organisational profile and reputation. Additionally, by providing
the local community with speakers to present a range of issues important to
the sport organisation links can be developed with the local stakeholders.
The first case focuses on how Special Olympics International uses it
volunteers to fulfil key SPRC roles and increases awareness and
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understanding of the movement in the community. The second case focuses
on the Purple Armband Games (also used in Chapter 11), which was
established by supporter groups to highlight the plight of those caught up in
violent and abusive situations. This volunteer programme was used by sport
organisation to further develop links with stakeholders and create a proactive
stance on these serious issues. The chapter concludes with a discussion on
the benefits of using volunteers within the SPRC function itself. Although
challenging, this can assist the organisation in achieving its objectives
without requiring significant financial resources.
The importance of the SPRC function is instrumental when the sport orga-
nisation suffers a crisis situation. Allan Edwards and Wayne Usher focus on
the need for crisis management practices. This is developed through
considering the naturalist and positivist perspectives of crisis management.
This chapter develops into a discussion of crisis communication strategies in
light of the case of the Brisbane Broncos RLFC. Edwards and Usher then draw
attention to approaches used by sporting organisations in a number of
contexts and focus on the Gonzalez-Herrero and Pratt (1996) model of crisis
communications. Finally the chapter focuses on the professional sport lea-
gues in the USA and the inability of two of their leagues to implement more
proactive public relations in light of the incidents. Recommendations for
practice are presented.
In this chapter we will be looking specifically at the role that fans and
supporters play in sport public relations and communications. Referring to
specific supporter groups such as the Barmy Army, Maria Hopwood high-
lights their intense public relations value to sport organisations and contends
that those organisations need to use their fans and supporters’ groups stra-
tegically for public relations purposes. Fans and supporters are the highly
visible representation of sport public relations and communications as they
are the living and breathing representation – the heart and soul – of sport.
Fans and supporters are the lifeblood of any sport organisation. Without their
The Public Relations Role of Fans and Supporters’ Groups 7
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support, the sport organisation would arguably cease to exist and function.
For the astute sport organisation, fans and supporters are a key public rela-
tions tool. They only say good things about the sport organisation and they
support it through thick and thin. Even more importantly, they are likely to
pass on their passion for the sport organisation to their children and others.
For this reason and others, fans and supporters’ groups are extremely
important brand ambassadors for any sport organisation and, consequen-
tially, are an extremely powerful sport public relations and communication
resource. Hopwood has included a case study based on the time she and her
family spent with the Barmy Army at the 2004 test match series between
England and the West Indies at Antigua when Brian Lara made his historic
400 not out.
Developing communication strategies that are designed to cross borders and
cultures is a challenge for those involved in managing the SPRC function.
Jacquie L’Etang discusses these challenges facing public relations in complex
and increasingly international contexts. L’Etang takes a critical perspective to
discuss the role and function of public relations in these environments. The
importance of cultural analysis is considered in light of its implications for
communication. This is applied through a brief analysis of mayoral justifi-
cations of four cities bidding for the 2012 Olympic Games. In this regard the
reader is encouraged to compare and contrast bidding communications
rhetoric. L’Etang then carries out a detailed discussion of factors that add
complexity to the SPRC function with regard to cultures, borders and the
forces of globalisation before presenting a critical review of its potential
impact on sport business.
The rapid rise of telecommunication systems such as satellite television to
the development of social networking sites has progressed beyond all early
predictions. In this chapter Lewis and Kitchin address the evolution and role
of new media and communications in developing SPRC strategies. The
authors begin by presenting an overview of the PR uses of the Internet from
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1996 to 2005. At this time sporting organisations were deemed to be reac-
tionary towards SPRC opportunities but additionally faced with increased
challenges presented by heightened stakeholder interest in these organisa-
tions. The first case addresses the Purple Armband Games (also discussed in
Chapter 6) and how the movement was supported by a website that coor-
dinated the group’s advocacy work. The chapter then considers the paradigm
shift of Web 2.0 and its implications for SPRC. A number of Web 2.0 tools are
developed in light of their potential benefit to SPRC. The second case
examines, a social networking site developed for the Indian-
apolis Colts NFL team. This chapter discusses social media and why it is
important to sporting organisations looking to break through the commu-
nications clutter. The authors present a series of guidelines for developing
a social media strategy for sporting organisations.
In Chapter 12, Skinner draws predominately on the work of Summers and
Morgan (2008) to explore the role of public relations in professional sport. In
doing this, particular emphasis on how public relations and communication
strategies can be used when dealing with potentially damaging situations for
players, the sport organisation and the sport itself are discussed. A failure by
sport public relations professionals to deal with a player’s crisis can lead to
unsavoury or bad press about players and has the potential to call into
question a player’s reputation and lead to poor public perception of the sport
organisation and/or sport. This negative press has the potential to impact on
future participation problems and a reduction in a range of revenue streams
including sponsorships and player endorsements (Bruce and Tini, 2008).
This chapter suggests that given the ‘market value’ of a player’s image and
the reputation of the sport hinges on public perception, which is the domain
of the sport public relations professional, it is vital for this professional to
nurture and defend a player’s image and a sport’s reputation. It is argued that
at its best public relations should be proactive in its efforts to create a positive
player image and reputation; however, it is often forced to react to negative
situations by using strategies to repair a tarnished player image or reputation
in order to defuse a public perception crisis. The chapter concludes by
highlighting that it is essential that sport public relations professionals need
to focus on protecting and enhancing a positive player image and reputation
through building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with key
publics, in particular their fans (Hopwood, 2007).
Public Relations for Players 9
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In the final chapter, Skinner is joined by Kristine Toohey in examining the
rise of international sport public relations. The authors first examine the
rise in international public relations as a consequence of increasing inter-
national trade, communications and politics. Focusing on international
SPRC the chapter examines previous use of the Olympic Games to provide
non-sporting agendas to be broadcast across the globe. The first case
examines the Olympic Torch Relay and the public relations difficulties the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Beijing 2008 organisers
faced as it travelled from Greece to the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing.
Skinner and Toohey go on to focus on the role that International Non-
Governmental Organisation (INGO – of which the IOC is one) can play in
the development of society through sport. The public relations issues that
these INGOs face in this work are discussed. Once again focusing on the
IOC, and in this case on the Salt Lake City Bribery scandal, the authors
highlight how the appointment of a well-known PR consultancy assisted in
resolving stakeholder management issues.
For coverage of the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team readers can be
directed to the BBC and Cricinfo websites at <
south_asia/7920677.stm>and <
infocus.html?subject¼38>, respectively.
For coverage of the Singapore Grand Prix race-fixing scandal see the following: <http://>.
For journals relating to Sport Public Relations and Communication see:
International Journal of Sport Communicat ion – <
Journal of Sport Media – <
Additionally a special edition from Public Relations Review – <https://enduser.¼public_relations_
International Journal of Sport Marketing and Sponsorship – <http://www.¼current>.
For a general blog site on the area of Sport PR – <
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Barnes, S., 2009. The worst act of cheating in the history of sport. Times Online.
Retrieved on 17 September 2009 from: <
Bruce, T., Tini, T., 2008. Unique crisis response strategies in sport public rela-
tions: Rugby League and the case for diversion. Public Relations Review 34,
Carroll, A.B., 1979. A three dimensional model of corporate performance.
Academy of Management Review 4 (4), 497–505.
´ration Internationale de l’Automobile, 2009. Press release: World Motor
Sport Council. FIA Online. Retrieved on 22 September 2009 from: <http://
Gonzalez-Herrero, A., Pratt, C.B., 1996. An integrated model for crisis commu-
nication management. Journal of Public Relations Research 8 (2), 79–105.
Harris, T.L., 1993. How MPR adds value to integrated marketing communica-
tions. Public Relations Quarterly 38 (2), 13–19.
Hopwood, M.K., 2007. The sport integrated communications mix: sport public
relations. In: Beech, J., Chadwick, S. (Eds.), The Marketing of Sport. Prentice
Hall, Harlow, England, pp. 292–317.
Ledingham, J.A., 2003. Explicating relationship management as a general theory
of public relations. Journal of Public Relations Research 15 (2), 188–198.
Stewart, B., 2002. Foreword. In: Edwards, A., Gilbert, K., Skinner, J. Extending the
Boundaries: Theoretical Frameworks for Research in Sport Management.
Melbourne, Victoria, Common Ground Publications, p. XI.
Summers, J., Morgan, M.J., 2008. More than just the media: considering the role
of public relations in the creation of sporting celebrity and the management of
fan expectations. Public Relations Review 34, 176–182.
Webster Jr., F.E., 1975. Characteristics of the socially conscious consumer. Journal
of Consumer Research 2, 188–196.
References 11
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... Increasing the existing level of professionalization will require greater specificity in the skills and competences of sport managers (Hopwood, Skinner & Kitchin, 2010). Where organisational capacity permits, the management of both issues and crises rest within the communications team. ...
... Such interaction perceived a crisis to be managed. Other practitioners agreed that social media provides a platform to understand stakeholder's issues or concerns, then allows you to monitor the general feeling towards the organization that could ultimately prevent a crisis from happening (Veil, Buehner, & Palenchar, 2011 24 to put statements out on social media, 'the conversation on the crisis will continue through social media without the organization's voice being heard' (Veil, et al., 2011, p. 118) and can lead to rumors and misguided public perception (Seeger, 2006 traditional media remained the primary media stakeholder. We feel these findings creates value for wider audiences as it reinforces in various contexts the traditional approach can provide a more stable media outlet for the crisis response over and above, more contemporary mechanisms. ...
A lack of practitioner insight into managing the ‘crisis response’ is a glaring gap in the communications literature, and its subset of sport communications, that exacerbates the academic-practitioner divide. Senior sport communications professionals in Northern Ireland provided their perspectives on issues and crisis management via in-depth interviews. Findings revealed that practitioners pay considerable attention to the ‘tipping point’, the point where a crisis emerged from an existing issue marking the initiation of a crisis response. Declaring a crisis was deemed a last resort in the management of issues due to declarations being associated with resource and reputational risks. Practitioners developed their own methods for managing the crisis response, however reflection upon academic approaches informed these views. Capacity issues within the sport sector in the region means that traditional media remain the practitioners’ most important stakeholder in a crisis. Areas for further research for (sport) issues management and crisis communications are provided.
... A study conducted by Serbanica and Constantinescu (2016) focused on using public relations in sports in Romania. The authors concluded that the effective use of public relations in sport can generate conversion, facilitate sport representatives positioning, and maintain continued sport sustenance Another study in this area was conducted by Hopwood, Skinner & Kitchin (2012) and focused on sport public relations and communication. The results showed that failure bysport public relations professionals to deal with a player's crisis could lead to unsavory or bad press about players and had the potential to call into question a player's reputation and lead to poor public perception of the sport organization and/or sport. ...
... Public relations practitioners and crisis communicators should not only assess and measure the subarenas that emerge (Coombs & Holladay, 2014) but also engage the rhetorical arena. If reputation is partly about what others say about you or your organization (Hopwood, Kitchin, & Skinner, 2010), then practitioners should preemptively and proactively offer identified stakeholders the necessary talking points to effectively compete in the rhetorical arena and engage in as much image management for self as they do for their beloved sports entity (Brown & Billings, 2013;Cialdini & Richardson, 1980;Spinda, 2011;Wann, 2006). Again that 1:3 ratio could help diffuse remediation attempts throughout the rhetorical arena. ...
Full-text available
This egocentric discussion network analysis examines American sports fans’ crisis perceptions regarding four National Football League (NFL) crises. The purpose of this research was to examine how stakeholders’ perceptions of sport-related crises are communicated within the rhetorical arena. This research addresses several lingering questions regarding the influential role of sport identification, fan communication behavior, and social relationships among sports fans in the development of crisis perceptions. The situational crisis communication theory (SCCT) model is extended by applying it to sport crisis and the network perspective. In sum, this sport crisis egocentric discussion network, driven by functional specificity hypothesis, enabled an in-depth investigation into network selection, activation, and influence regarding sports fans’ crisis perceptions, and the significance of identification and the discordant communication exchanged within a sports fan’s personal network.
... From sport participants, spectators, or consumers of ancillary activities (like fantasy sport), the sport industry is ripe with public experiences that can alter the success of an organization. PR scholars and researchers have shown that the sport industry is a viable field for exploration, as evidenced by numerous textbooks including, but not limited to, Sport Public Relations and Communication (Hopwood, Skinner, & Kitchin, 2012), Sport Public Relations (Stoldt, Dittmore, & Branvold, 2012), Sports Public Relations (L'Etang, 2013), and Strategic Sport Communication (Pedersen, Laucella, Kian, & Geurin, 2017). In addition, many journal articles have been dedicated to the area, including a 2008 special issue dedicated to sport PR in Public Relations Review. ...
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On the first Sunday of the National Football League's 2016-17 season, a technical issue caused ESPN's fantasy-football website and mobile application to fail. ESPN's product failure is no small problem and represented a major organizational crisis; with 7.1 million unique users, ESPN represents the largest provider of a multi-billion-dollar fantasy-sport industry. This case study examined ESPN's organizational communication strategy, as well as the stakeholder responses surrounding the failure of ESPN's fantasy-football website and application on the most anticipated day of the fantasy-sport season. Using content analysis and partnering with a social media data insights company, the study examined social media messages from both the organizational and consumer side of this fantasysport product failure. Through ampling 1,542 social media messages from a population of 11,881 unique comments via Twitter, the reactive nature of ESPN's messages and the direct responses from its consumers was ascertained.
Research on sport sponsorship–fan relationships rarely explores the duration of fans’ feelings towards a sponsor, even though research demonstrates that management of this relationship is crucial. In addition, little research in management, sponsorship, marketing, or public relations explores contexts in which sponsorship involves a national sports team that attracts significant patriotic sentiment. The purpose of this study was to address these absences by exploring the longevity of public responses to a sponsor transgression crisis. The results identify the central role played by perceptions of respect and disrespect in New Zealanders’ responses to a jersey-pricing crisis and the sponsor’s response to public criticisms. The results indicate that national team sponsors who explicitly galvanize intense feelings of patriotism need to understand and respect the national public’s emotional stake in their national team rather than narrowly pursuing sales or the bottom line. The study also highlights the importance of implementing respectful crisis management strategies during a crisis involving patriotic feelings.
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A comunicação desportiva atinge atualmente novos domínios sociais, em particular, nas redes sociais. Molda cosmovisões clubísticas, narrativas e crenças. Serve de veículo no qual os membros das comunidades de adeptos participam da promulgação, produção, consumo e organização de eventos. Utilizando como estudo de caso o jogo de futebol entre FC Porto e SL Benfica da 13ª jornada da Liga NOS, o artigo tem como objetivos identificar os influenciadores do clássico no Twitter, a abrangência geográfica das conversações, os períodos de maior fluxo das mensagens e a narrativa semântica de quatro cliques que se formaram em torno do jogo. A recolha de dados ocorreu entre as 20h e 24h de 1º de dezembro de 2017, o que permitiu englobar a antecipação e o rescaldo do jogo, e resultou numa base de dados com 301.451 mensagens, criadas por 124.459 perfis, asso-ciadas pelas hashtags #FCPSLB, #FCPorto e #SLBenfica. Para interpretar os dados foi em-pregada a Análise de Redes Sociais. Os resultados apontam o adepto como maior influenciador da rede, descentralizando e desafiando o controlo da comunicação externa por parte dos clubes, a abrangência global e a mediatização do evento, a batalha das perspetivas entre comunidades e a relação dos fluxos comunicacionais com episódios do jogo.
La presente investigación trata de presentar un diagnóstico original sobre los procesos de planificación estratégica de la identidad corporativa en los clubes deportivos profesionales españoles. La metodología empleada es una combinación de técnicas cuantitativas y cualitativas ante un universo de estudio formado por las cincuentas seis entidades deportivas que forman la Liga de Fútbol Profesional y la Asociación de Clubes de Baloncesto.
This article examines how a public relations crisis in the sport realm develops when national identity issues are at stake. Based on the media coverage of the All Blacks Rugby World Cup jersey crisis, and drawing on the concept of rhetorical arena, we explore Adidas's crisis communication strategies, identify and summarise the responses, actions, and interactions of various parties involved in the crisis. We consider how these parties influence the development of the crisis in what we call the 'national rhetorical arena'. The article illustrates the power of the national rhetorical arena and its many voices to align over issues of national identity against a foreign sponsor making use of a national icon. When sponsoring national sport teams, foreign sponsors need to be aware they are only borrowing, not appropriating, important signifiers of national identity. They should make sure they do not impede the national public's perceived entitlement to their national icons as any act of disrespect towards national identity is felt very strongly. In a crisis, they need to identify the potential voices in the national rhetorical arena, not underestimate the role of national media to shape and bring together these voices, not downplay the power of the national public, and not underestimate the strong undercurrent of nationalism especially during sport mega events. © 2017 Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand.
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Offered here is a conceptual model that comprehensively describes essential aspects of corporate social performance (CSP). The three dimensional model address major questions of concern: (1) What is included in the definition of CSR? (2) What are the social/stakeholder issues the firm must address? and (3) What is the organization's strategy/mode/philosophy of social responsiveness. The first dimension is the source of the original four-part definition of CSR originated: economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary (later termed philanthropic). It was later presented at the CSR Pyramid (1991).
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Offered here is a conceptual model that comprehensively describes essential aspects of corporate social performance. The three aspects of the model address major questions of concern to academics and managers alike: (1) What is included in corporate social responsibility? (2) What are the social issues the organization must address? and (3) What is the organization's philosophy or mode of social responsiveness?
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Although the relationship management perspective of public relations is the focus of a substantial body of scholarship, a theory of that perspective has yet to be articulated and explicated. Herein, I review the emergence of the relational perspective, summarize the relevant literature, and construct a theoretical statement of that perspective. I then argue for relationship management as a general theory of public relations and offer suggestions for future research within a relational paradigm.
This article presents an integrated four-step symmetrical model for the effective management of crises. Although the model is also applicable to the management of accidental and operational crises, it is formulated primarily for those crises whose occurrence is more likely a consequence of the inherent fallibility of management—that is, mismanagement. It is based on Grunig's situational theory and on the emerging theoretical framework of issues management—that is, on an early identification, redirection, or influence of issues. A biological analogy is used to suggest an early crisis intervention that averts further development of a potentially troublesome issue. The model incorporates both proactivity and symmetry and has three overarching principles: issues management, planning-prevention, and implementation. Two widely known corporate crises—Intel's Pentium flaw and McDonald's hot coffee spill—are used to illustrate the model.
Sport is a unique ‘product’ in that most of its messages and images are conveyed through media coverage rather than through advertising or sales campaigns. While the coverage is usually positive, media interest becomes more problematic in high profile scandals which can be very damaging. In this paper, we propose that the culture of elite men's sport and its interdependence with mass media creates a situation in which sports public relations personnel have access to crisis communication strategies not previously specified in the existing literature. Based on textual analysis of media coverage of an Australasian men's rugby league salary cap scandal, we argue that, in certain situations, a sports organisation may draw upon a crisis response strategy that we term diversion in order to successfully limit the damage to the organisation's reputation. In particular, we suggest that the often intense ‘relationship’ that fans have with players may allow team sports to focus attention on players (and fans) as innocent victims with the result that negative publicity for the sport overall is reduced.
This article considers the complex nature of sporting celebrity and the role of media and public relations in the creation of both sports celebrity and the fan expectations associated with that celebrity. While public relations literature has traditionally considered PR as a promotion and communication tool, this article acknowledges that in the cultural and ideological world of sport, PR has a much more sophisticated role to play. In the event of either positive or negative media attention, a sporting celebrity is subjected to unprecedented scrutiny and the increasingly high expectations of fans. However, the expectations of fans are not based on the simple notion of hero worship and role models, and this exploratory study suggests that fans are capable of very complex reactions to the behaviours and marketing personas of sporting celebrities. The use of PR in sport deserves close examination and the reactive spin doctoring techniques of the past should give way to the strategic integration of public relations and media planning in both the creation of the sporting celebrity, balancing the sport vs. private sides of that celebrity, and the varying fan expectations associated with each.
This paper investigates how information affect voting behaviour. There exist a large literature suggesting that uninformed voters can use informational shortcuts or cues to vote as if they were informed. This paper tests this hypothesis using unique Swedish individual survey data on the preferences of both politicians and voters. I find that uninformed voters are significantly worse than informed voters at voting for their most preferred politicians. This suggests that uninformed voters can not make up for their lack of information using shortcuts. Furthermore, the errors uninformed voters make do not cancel out in large elections. Estimates suggest that the ruling majorities would have switched in almost 5% of Swedish municipalities had all voters been fully informed. The effects are estimated with both parametric and nonparametric estimation techniques.