PR, social and communications in general within sports have been a huge growing market for a long time now.
Back when attending live sporting events and playing sports recreationally were banned during COVID, social media platforms and the press became the only way sporting teams could keep in touch with their current fans. However, this also created a massive opportunity enabling them to reach and grow a whole new network of supporters.
Yet, sports PR & social is notoriously one of the hardest fields to come across as authentic. But why is this?
It goes back to the age-old phrase of: “It takes one to know one.”
Whilst you have some sporting spectators who sit on the fringe and don’t really align themselves to a core team, the majority are ride or die and could list you an entire team’s squad in just a breath.
Now, this is why it is such a hard market to crack. Your target audience probably knows more about your team or sport than the people writing the press releases and drafting social copy, meaning slip-ups are common and it can often lead to the ultimate sporting penalty, inauthenticity.
Here are 5 reasons why you need sporting fans running the show if you’re looking to PR your sport, team or brand:
You wouldn’t have someone pitching a new food or drink product if they didn’t know the taste or ingredients, and the same rule applies to sports. It’s essential for your creative comms team to be able to talk to the press and consumers organically, and really understand the ‘product’ inside and out.
In sports, the product tends to be a team or competition, the thing you’re pushing to the masses. Journalists want to get a full picture of what the team is going through, how they’ve performed, and any key player developments. If you’re unable to fulfil and share all of that with passion, you’ll leave yourself with a very unenthused and nervous journalist.
However, if you’re able to talk about the controversies from the weekend fixtures, speak confidently and insightfully about a new signing you want to be interviewed, or even share something with a deeper understanding that even the journalist hasn’t thought of, you’ll have a lot more success. For sporty people, this isn’t a chore for them, it’s not a script of bullet points they’ve written down before they pick up the phone, it’s their mastermind category, their love and their passion.
Sports journalists are a different breed of press, in the best way possible! They spend their time not just filing copy but attending games, going to pressers, following social media as things unfold, and being able to fully engage them is a must.
Sports fans and people who work in sports PR are very similar (and in the best instances, the same). They’re spending their weekends and evenings catching up on match highlights, getting tickets to go witness once-in-a-lifetime sporting moments, giving them not only shared talking points when pitching to the press, but also enabling them to be in a position where they’ll be bumping into their contact from TalkSPORT, or sharing a post-match pint with the new producer over at Sky Sports News. It means your product will be directly pitched to the contacts you want to reach regularly and organically.
By The Fans, For The Fans
I’m sure we can all think of moments we’ve seen a press stunt from a sports team and just held our heads in our hands thinking how could they get it so wrong? Chances are, it was probably orchestrated by people who’ve never set foot on a pitch and couldn’t explain the offside rule.
Fans are the first to sniff out when something feels inauthentic and out of line with the club and players. They’re the brand guardians you never asked for but will find impossible to ignore.
People pride themselves on the teams they support. They become part of their identity. They plaster stickers on their cars, tattoo club badges onto their skin, and put up huge amounts of money to attend games and see their heroes live. This is why they take fake performative campaigns to such personal offense.
By working with people who are fans of your product, they can help you not only create campaigns that are true to what you’re pushing, but also, they can be the sounding board before it reaches the wrong kind of Twitter meme page.
Thriving In Competition
People who play and follow sports are inherently competitive. They know how it feels to lose and they certainly know how it feels to win, and how much they want to win again. By working with people engaged in sports, you can bet that by nature they are going to be competitive. They won’t be happy just hitting the KPIs, they want to smash it out of the park. If they don’t get coverage, they won’t just chalk it off as a loss, they’re keep working and reworking until they get it just right, just as they would do on the pitch on a cold Sunday morning.
You want the competitive nature and drive, you want people who are hungry for success and as an extension, will ensure you get more than what you’ve asked for.
If people are passionate about something and believe in something, they will go above and beyond to meet expectations.
You won’t be an afterthought or a chore, you won’t be receiving the same washed-up rinse and repeat ideas. You will be a large part of their life, both at work and at home.
By having a group of people who all operate and specialise in sports, you find the discussions (and fantasy leagues) never end. Not only is this good just for general talking points, but I can’t begin to put into context how many great ideas we’ve had at Hatch Group that has come from a chat over lunch about the weekend’s fixtures, or a campaign we’ve seen by another sports team which we think could have been done better.
Here at Hatch, we pride ourselves on being sports fanatics, we know the audience, because we are the audience. We know the fans because we are them ourselves and our repertoire backs that up. We’ve been lucky enough to work with The Rugby League World Cup, The FA, The EFL, British Triathlon and The Hundred to name just a few.
We get sport, in fact, we love it. Don’t let our record in the Leeds Dragon Boat Race say otherwise…
It’s a constant within our office, from discussing the impact of YouTuber Boxing on the mainstream boxing industry with Louis, playing ‘Footie Tic Tac Toe’ with Vik and Alex, to going through my Fantasy Football team with Cam. From playing one touch in our boss’s garden to having team outings to the races, rugby, football and cricket.
It’s what we love and it’s what we do, so let us do it for you!
If you have a sporting campaign you’re looking for PR, Social, Content or more then please drop in for a chat, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be bringing home the silverware in no time!