I'm delighted to be here with J.A. Adande, who heads the sports program at Medill at Northwestern University, and who is a former columnist for the LA times, and a contributor to many broadcast programs in America, and who is here to help us unpack what is public relations and communications, media relations in the sports marketing world. Thank you for being with us J.A. Can you tell us a little bit about the role of public relations in the communications, and how does it play into a journalist's look at sports, and what do you consider to be important in public relations? First and foremost, it's delivering facts, right? You're there to provide as much information in a timely manner as possible, and media demands it faster than ever, right, because we're under these tighter deadlines and it's continuous and it's live and instantaneous throughout social media. So, to be able to provide the up-to-date, accurate information, that's the number one component of a public relations job, number one thing that journalists are looking for. Second would be to facilitate. Can you help provide access to the team members or coaches, the players, the training staff, maybe even ownership. How can you help the media do its job while also helping the players and putting them in position to be the most effective where they're not overburdened with media responsibilities. So, how can you I find that comfort zone between the obligations and the needs of the media versus the the primary responsibilities of the players which is to put themselves in the best position to perform during their games without being dragged too far away, without being caught up in unnecessary controversies, without asking too much of their time. So, the best find a way to somehow make both sides happy and it's not easy, but that is ultimately the ideal to provide an access that makes a journalist happy whereas providing realistic time limits that keeps the team members happy. That sounds like a really difficult balance. When we talk about sports marketing, and of course this whole course is on sports marketing, and we think about representing the team or the league, then is that person in public relations thinking about it from the viewpoint of the team, or the athlete, or when you're thinking about that balance, are they trying to also serve the journalist? Where does that balance fall? Where it comes, you're trying to tell stories and you're trying to help new storytellers as well, but you want to get the best possible perception of your team out there and really raise awareness of who these people are, what they're doing, what the essence of this team's mission is, and if it's a genuine enough story, if it's really compelling, then you'll be providing a good story for the journalists who always helped to tell good stories as well. So, again, if you can facilitate and provide them with a great story to tell and provide them with access to the people that will help them tell that story, they will benefit as well as your team and the players and the administration on that team getting their story out as well. They should be recognized for what they're doing, particularly if it's something away from the court that people can't normally see during the course of a game broadcast, but this person is doing something in the community, this person is undertaken maybe a journey of personal growth right, or going back to school and getting their master's degree in psychiatry or something, or they're learning how to play the piano. Some interesting things that maybe shed light and make them appear to be more well-rounded and also if the fans is hungering for everything, every possible more so that they can assume about these people, that's why they follow and that's why these players have sometimes millions of followers on social media. There's interest in who they are and what they do, but sometimes you want to get that in the hands of the good storytellers and let them tell that story. So, when you think about the nuts and bolts of this, what, as a public relations person, am I providing? What do you think, behind the scenes, are the tools of the trade that I'm offering to the media? It gets back to that word facilitating and I can't emphasize that enough. I'll probably say it several more times a day. But you're recognizing things such as their deadline, things such as the time requirements that they might need in order to tell this story effectively. They'll need 10 minutes or maybe it's something that requires 20 minutes or maybe it's something that requires spending an afternoon with somebody or leaving the facility and going around with them and the neighborhood as they do some of their charitable work, for example. So, understanding, okay, what's the requirement that it will take to tell this story effectively while, again, providing that balance of, okay, is the player willing to do this and understanding what type of person he is. It's funny. The whole time I keep telling this, I'm thinking of Raymond Ridder, the legendary PR person for the Golden State Warriors who has been a multiple recipient of what the MBA writers called Brian McIntyre Award which is given to the best PR staff in the league named after the former league's head of PR for the league who formerly worked for the Chicago Bulls for a long time, Brian McIntyre. But the reason they're considered the best is they manage, even in the team that is besieged with media requests, they manage to keep a lot of people happy, they manage to get their key players out in front of the cameras and microphones on a regular basis, they manage to somebody comes up with a novel idea and it's hard to think of something fresh for a team that's been covered every which way in depth for the past four years, but they manage to keep helping out those who do the work to come up with creative story ideas, they'll allow for them to bring those to fruition. Part of that mentality is that they were bad for a long period of time when Ray Ridder was there and he remembers the days where Warriors were one of the worst teams in the NBA, and Raymond Ridder remembers the days he was begging for people to come out and cover the team and he couldn't get anything about the Warriors into the local newspapers, on local television stations, or it's certainly in the national media as well. So, part of that mentality has always stuck with them. So, rather than be discouraged by the amount of tension they get, he revels in it but he takes the same approach that we want to get the message of the Warriors out, who they are and what they're doing. So therefore, even in the midst of the, they've been the most scrutinized team, in arguably in American sports the last few years and yet you still hear many media people coming away speaking positively of their interaction with the Warriors and with their PR staff. Because he's found a way to accommodate everybody. So, in the old fashion world of teaching public relations, we have trained people in press releases, in the world of 24-7 social media press releases, or somewhat relegated. Do you have a story of having received an old-fashioned press release telling you about an event, and having that peak your interests, then following up on that? It's still out there and it gets back to the basics. It depends on sometimes the different elements, those five basic elements. So, sometimes it's the who. So, if you can tell me, "Hey, LeBron James is going to be at this event." I'm probably going to show up. Sometimes it's the what. There is a recent promotional event in Chicago, where they had the defending champion in the women's PGA championship out here. She just won last year out here and they're [inaudible] and so they had her going against a former Chicago Bull, trying to hit golf balls into an island in the Chicago River, which is something you don't see every day. So, in that case, it was the what. Like, "Oh, okay. That's fun." For the local TV stations, that's some good video that they can show. Of course, for the producers and the sponsors of the the golf tournament, it's a good way to get their message and to raise awareness. So, in that case, the what. So, sometimes, the basic format of a press release the who, what, where, when, why, sometimes that's enough, if there's something that's in there that is compelling enough. If the who, is a big enough name, if the what is a unique enough event, that can raise interests. That can draw a journalistic crowd. Other times you're going to have to go beyond that. Maybe you can tailor a message for a specific journalist. Knowing what this writer enjoys talking about. Does he like the stories of overcoming adversity? Is she a writer that likes to weigh in on the political aspects, and where that intersects with sports? Maybe this is a story that would interest her. So, sometimes it's a specific, understanding your audience. In this case, the audience of journalists, and what each individual journalist, what their strengths are, and what their interests are. But sometimes it's understanding that if you're trying to promote to the mass media, what are the things that will get them out there? Sometimes it's the when. Is it early enough in the day, for example, that'll be easy to turn around in time for the newscast, or is it a time when you might be likely to get a live shot on say the 5 O'clock or 6 O'clock news? Could you schedule it then? The where. Is it at a convenient location that people can get to easily? All those factors, all those basic Ws, sometimes one can really rise to the top, and that can be the deciding factor. When we think about sports now, there are so many areas of the world where sports marketing has a different flavor than in America. Have you seen a difference on marketing now? Cricket in India, and rugby in New Zealand, and how Formula One is doing around the world? I haven't seen those particular. I haven't dealt with those sports necessarily or their PR attempts. I will say, some of the elements I've described, I think, go no matter where the audiences, or no matter what country you're in. I was in Italy for the 2006 Winter Olympics, and, I think, it was Visa had a promotional event with Alberto Tamba, the legendary skier, who was also known for his swagger and his playboy lifestyle. It was February, the time of the Winter Olympics, and so I think it happened to be February 14th. So, they had an event in which Alberto Tamba would discuss romantic Valentine's Day suggestions. So, again, this was understanding the who, and the what, and it was a very well attended event. In Brazil, in the last Summer Olympics, they had a promotional event with, you put Usain Bolt, a guy with an outsized personality. The world-class Jamaican sprinter down in Rio de Janeiro, and of course you've got these Samba dancers with the elaborate costumes like it was the middle of carnival, right? So, he's on stage dancing with these Samba dancers, Samba school dancers, and that was a video and that was a photo that got a lot of run. So, these are different countries but some of the same principles. Understanding what's going to be viral. What's going to be hot. So, how many Twitter followers do you have? Six hundred thousand. So, tell me about the role you think social media now plays in public relations. Well, it's a chance to bypass the middleman, right? So, as much as I've been talking to you about satisfying the needs of the media, and understanding how to play to the media, there are many opportunities to go directly to the public yourself. That's a huge advantage of social media. You can help build a personality for your brand, not just have it be a cold press release. But with the right touch, and it's a fine line to draw, but with the right touch you can help develop a personality. The Los Angeles Kings, earned a great reputation for their social media, and how it was fun, and how people that might not be a Kings fan, or might not even be a hockey fan, might follow this account just because they wanted to see what they were going to do next. What type of clever discussions, or what type of smart jokes they were going to put out there. So, that earned follows from people. Being the smart, witty social media account can help benefit your team. It's also a little bit frightening. If I were a team owner and these franchise which are now valued in the billions of dollars, the public interface for this franchise might very well be some 24 or 25-year-old, who might not have the most experience, might not be that well-versed in everything ethics and protocols. So, it's a bit of a risk that they take. But a lot of times these are decisions that are happening in real time without having the chance to go up the corporate ladder and be approved. They're given the authority and the autonomy to go ahead and post under the name or on behalf of, again, these massive corporations. But it is, when done right, and I think it's more upside than downside for these teams, and for the individuals who manage their own accounts to really showcase their personality. Joel Embiid, of The Philadelphia 76ers was building up a following even before he played. He missed his entire rookie season with an injury, and yet he was gaining in popularity because his social media presence was so good and fun for people to follow.