Jeremy Lin Boosts New York Knicks’ Image and Harvard’s Athletic Department Prowess

By: Tom Malone

Three weeks ago, no one knew about Jeremy Lin. As a leader on Harvard’s basketball team two years ago, he received no publicity through SportsCenter or Sports Illustrated. If any National Basketball Association fan picked him for an ESPN fantasy basketball team, I would be shocked.

Finally, New York Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni called Lin’s number after a disheartening downward spiral of a record continued to get worse. Lin soared in every statistics category and led the Knicks to exciting victories, boosting their ratings.

Now, he plays in 100 percent of ESPN’s fantasy basketball leagues. He regularly appears on SportsCenter highlights. He put Harvard basketball back on the map. He reinvigorated fans’ passion for the Knicks and drew new people to the New York basketball market.

How can the Knicks franchise utilize public relations to enhance their place in NBA culture through the new Jeremy Lin phenomenon?

The distant future will depend on Lin’s consistency, but presently, he can utilize social media to build his brand. Twitter works for athletes like Dwight Howard. Why wouldn’t it work for Lin? Appearances in NBA commercials can cement his status as a New York star. An appearance in a SportsCenter commercial wouldn’t hurt either.

Every NBA franchise builds its brand through its star player(s). With strategic media exposure, Lin has unbounded potential, just like every other rising juggernaut had before him.

Lin’s future in the public eye remains uncertain, but the potential for the Knicks to sweep the country with a wave of Linsanity stands strong.

*Photo through USA Today. Video through NBA.com.

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Conference Shifting in NCAA Football Creates New Opportunities for Sports Public Relations Practitioners

By: Tom Malone

In the last two years, NCAA football has seen a drastic change in conference make-ups. The Pac 10 added Utah and Colorado, shifting its name to the Pac 12. With the addition of Nebraska, the Big 10 now contains 12 schools, while the Big 12 contains 10. The Big East saw shifts in its composition lately as well.

Modern 24-hour sports journalism follows conference shifts like crazy. An individual school’s athletic department must prepare a public relations strategy to prepare for the ever-present buzz surrounding even the slightest rumor about a team’s conference jump.

Recently, West Virginia announced its move from the Big East to the Big 12, leaving scheduled teams, like Pitt, with empty game slots. Teams lose out on classic rivalry games as well, causing widespread concern among die-hard fans.

How do athletic department public relations practitioners deal with these issues?

From a fan’s perspective, we see statements released to sports journalism outlets like Sports Illustrated and SportsCenter, though we only encounter the portions that the media content creator wants the public to encounter.

Departments try (or appear to try) to continue these traditional rivalry games with teams in former conferences, though this may not always work in terms of scheduling.

The re-branding of the Pac 10 into the Pac 12 drew support through excitement generated by new television deals and a conference championship game. Public relations campaigns through athletic departments undoubtedly played a part in publicizing this excitement behind the message.

The age of the Super Conference may be under way, meaning the average athletic department public relations practitioner must create enthusiastic plans that support the new direction of the school that they represent and the new direction of NCAA football in general.

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“The Fatal Backward Step” Analyzes Penn State’s Public Relations Fiasco

By: Tom Malone

Why did Penn State’s Board of Trustees panic during the sexual abuse scandal that plagued the institution and football program earlier this year? An anonymous member of the Board admitted that the intense media pressure played a role, according to William Levinson.

Levinson, a Penn State graduate and business author, discusses the similarity between military obligation to the troops in a brigade and the obligation to stand by an administration during a time of crisis.

He suggests that the Penn State Board blatantly threw head football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier under the bus (sorry for the cliché) with intentions of saving their own image.

A step backwards from the line of fire can cause more damage than facing the threat head-on, says Levinson. Instead of standing by their men, the Board backed up in cowardice by assuming the guilt-by-association notions of Paterno and Spanier.

The author provides an interesting viewpoint. He describes the relationship between military strategy and public relations strategy, a relationship that I’ve never thought of before reading his post.

How can the study of military or sports strategy relate to public relations planning?

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NBA Fit Campaign Proves Successful for League’s Image Boost

By: Tom Malone

Recently, the National Basketball Association increased promotion of its Fit program that encourages kids, adults, and families to boost physical fitness and increase healthy choices. The program serves as the health and activity portion of the NBA Cares organization. How has public relations enhanced this program’s promotion?

During this season’s televised games, some teams placed the NBA Fit logo directly on the court floor in place of typical corporate logos. Every person watching these nationally televised games saw the logo and recognized its connection to the league.

Throughout commercial breaks during these games, the NBA utilized the public service announcement as a tactic to increase awareness and participation in the various programs that NBA Fit offers.

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke through the United States Department of Agriculture on public service announcements through the NBA Fit website. She boosted her efforts to promote healthy eating choices, using the USDA food pyramid as evidence for behavioral change. This enhances her image, the Obama administration’s image, and the USDA’s image. She serves as an opinion leader to further the NBA Fit campaign’s success.

NBA Fit’s Twitter account regularly tweets social enhancement messages, including essay contests, reading encouragement, and US military shout-outs. Overall, this campaign utilizes blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and social media to boost its reach.

The program’s success remains tough to grasp, but its recent push seems to be working to enhance the NBA’s image and increase fans’ overall health awareness.

*Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune. For more from his adventures and research, visit the online magazine today for a free subscription.

**Photo through NBA.com

Posted in NBA, Sports Public Relations | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Egyptian Football Riot Leaves 73 Dead and a Country Scrambling for Redemption

By: Tom Malone

Last week, an Egyptian soccer rivalry game in Port Said ended with a violent riot that killed 73 people and injured more than 1,000 fans. Rioters chased opposing players and fought rival fans in a disturbing display of aggression that caught the world’s attention through front page headlines.

The riot occurred during a period of political unrest in Egypt, a country that led the Arab Spring’s series of revolutions and uprisings. How will Egypt’s image recover from this atrocity?

Naturally, government officials issued statements quickly after the riot occurred that denounced the country’s support of the violence. The teams involved in the rivalry game spoke out against the violence in an attempt to detach the clubs’ involvement with post-game soccer aggression.

As police and military present during the riot took little action to stop the violence, officials blame their lack of enforcement on the riot’s escalation.

Former United States national team coach Bob Bradley signed on as the Egyptian national team coach five months ago. He issued a statement reinforcing his confidence in the country and his team, though a few players publicly vowed to never play soccer again.

Furthering the efforts to boost the country’s image, the Egyptian Prime Minister fired Egyptian Football Association high-ranking officials, some formerly holding the positions of Bradley’s bosses. World soccer’s governing body, FIFA, denounced government involvement in the sport.

Some experts believe that the violent event occurred due to increasing political turmoil in the country, while others believe the soccer fiasco sparked political unrest. Chicken or the egg? Either way, Egypt must rebound. Its image will rise or fall depending on the country’s ability to handle the current political and social passions that continue one year after its revolution.

*Also published on Cruisin’

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The PSA Uses the Super Bowl to Capture Audiences

By: Tom Malone

The Super Bowl approaches. The New York Giants will face the New England Patriots in a championship rematch after each team displaced the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers in the conference finals.

Sure, the Super Bowl might not always provide the most entertaining athletic competition, but one aspect of the spectacle never ceases to bring excitement to the screen: Super Bowl commercials.

Some television experts say Super Bowl Sunday draws the largest audience of the year, meaning advertising prices skyrocket. With the right budget, the small screen during the NFL’s final season game can drastically enhance a public relations campaign and extend its reach.

Public service announcements grace the famous Super Bowl commercial stage every year. In 1993, FAIR ran an ad aimed to stop domestic violence. The PSA stirred a bit of controversy with some reporters, but seemed to influence the significant drop in Super Bowl Sunday domestic violence reports that year.

Through a partnership with the NFL, United Way produced a PSA in 2009 that promoted healthy kids and increased awareness regarding childhood obesity. This public relations tactic enhanced the NFL’s image by displaying the league’s consideration for kids and future health.

The next year, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez appeared in a PSA that aimed to raise awareness about female heart attacks. The ad served as a portion of the CBS Cares campaign and further promoted the NFL’s image positively.

Why wouldn’t public relations practitioners use the Super Bowl? The commercial time slots have the power to reach arguably the largest male audience of the year. Many viewers enjoy the commercials more than the game itself. If the campaign has the bank roll (average Super Bowl commercial price: $2.6 million for 30-second time slot), why not use the audience potential to do some good?

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Brazil Invades Flavelas before 2014 World Cup

By: Tom Malone

In preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro city officials occupied slums to enforce crime this summer. Police forces have raided these flavelas prior to and since these frequent summer raids. These highly publicized infiltrations enhance the location’s appeal to the wide audience that these events draw.

The reconstruction of flavela buildings across event-holding Brazilian cities appeared on newspaper and blog headlines for months. The country’s efforts reshape the image of these cities that could receive a lot of money from an economy boost through large crowds and advertisements.

How has this worked for cities in the past? Barcelona’s image before the 1992 Summer Olympics was shady at best. After the games, Barcelona maintained a strong economic standing and its image moved forward with a high-profile tourism focus.

Experts believe Brazil’s involvement in the World Cup will provide over 700,000 jobs and billions in economic movement. Prior World Cups in Germany and South Korea produced significant economic growth and naturally increased the countries’ image to the traveling public.

Through the television access that these events receive, cities and countries can publicize their image in any manner they can configure. Television specials on country highlights, well-functioning events, presentation of positive economic activity. Brazil faces back-to-back major world sporting events. The world will be its stage for a few years. If Brazil can present itself in the best possible manner, it can ridiculously boost its perception across the globe.

*Photos by Tom Malone

Also published on Cruisin

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