In the course of the last week I’ve caught no end of analysis and commentary questioning aspects of sport, and its accompanying PR.
On the one hand, we’ve heard huge amounts about the Sky team as it completed its impressive run of form with a win in the Tour de France.
The question-mark over this particular sport story was whether Sky could somehow use its recent encounters to ‘reposition’ its perception.
No-one doubts the exceptional ability and commitment within the Sky camp, but there are those who doubt whether the team’s ‘brand’ is doing enough to engage fully with its audience and to be seen as human as well as machine-like.
And from cycling we move to the Paralympics.
Jonnie Peacock made no attempt to hide his disgruntlement in a post-Anniversary Games interview with the BBC.
The Paralympics aspect of the weekend’s sport had, he said, not received enough publicity.
He said it failed to attract the coverage it should have done and that that was a disappointing factor for the athletes concerned.
From there, we move on to the fallout of disgruntlement about whether or not the women’s football team deserved more publicity for their great recent performance than they actually scooped.
Just like their female peers now doing battle in the Women’s Ashes – do they get the media exposure they deserve…or far less so for being female?
What ties all these together is that there’s a sense of far more commercial drive behind stories and coverage of a sport nature, than would typically be the case in more generalist news consumption.
Those sports for whom sponsorship is attracted at the highest level, will almost certainly always get their day in the sun.
So how do we ensure that ALL sport receives the level of PR and brand awareness it deserves?
Is it down to individuals, teams, or the industry itself?
Personally, I think the answer lies in each sport having a disciplined strategic approach to its marketing undertakings and to a need for everyone from the minority sports to the most popular mainstream pastimes to be meeting with the media distributors about their wants and desires for their particular field.
What we know without any doubt is that sports that exercise more muscle and can prove more traction in audience levels will always garner more attention from the press and the broadcasters.
Not only is this because they’ll be proving that more TV watchers and newspaper readers are digesting news about those sports, but it will be evidencing that more corporate backers are coming to the table with an objective of exposing their brands.
It strikes me as a real shame that, three years on from the Olympic Games, we’re still not seeing the full ‘legacy’ of sport PR we’d perhaps once hoped for.
We have to keep placing the pressure and exercising whatever weight we have to make sure grassroots sport, lesser-participation sports, unknown sport hopefuls, and all the stories in between, are getting that spotlight they deserve.
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