4 tips to score and excel in a sports PR career

To go for gold in the world of athletics, you must master a specific niche, sharpen your communications skills, diversify your interests and stay curious.

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That’s a valid motivation, but a love of sports is only one facet of the game.

If you’re hoping to cultivate a career in sports public relations, or in virtually any communications function in the field of athletics, remember these four things:

1. Master a specific area.

Fandom will get you only so far. To deliver irreplaceable value to your client partners, you must develop a thorough understanding of all aspects of a sport. That includes amassing deep fan insights, identifying key influencers—from executives to athletes to journalists—understanding how and why different sponsors approach major sports properties and grasping the economics of the game.

About 20 years ago, I began working with a client in the bowling industry. What did I know about bowling? Like a lot of folks, I enjoyed the sport on occasion, but that wasn’t enough. I immersed myself in the business of the industry.

This involved building relationships with marketers, athletes, journalists, equipment manufacturers, the people running the sanctioning organizations and even individuals on the technology side. I learned more than I ever cared to about the viscosity of lane oil and its effect on the ball’s angle of impact.

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