Stepping up to the plate with Sports PR

Tonight’s PRSSA general featured David Wells and Colby Miller of Minor League Baseball team the State College Spikes. Having no background in sports promotion, I was interested to hear how PR techniques would change for such a specific niche. But like any other area of the industry, the most emphasized idea of the night was for students to “Stay involved!”

State College Spikes

Wells, a 2010 Penn State graduate, is the manager of promotions and community relations. His position involves a laundry list of roles including marketing, promotions, designing t-shirts, working with sponsors, overseeing games and even hiring mascots. Miller recently joined the Spikes as a ticket account executive, creating ticket partnerships with individuals and businesses.

After talking about all of his responsibilities, Wells focused specifically on the Spikes’ promotional efforts. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest; “we’re on every social media platform,” he said.

“A lot of people regurgitating too much. It’s not that. It’s a way to humanize your brand.”

Being a Minor League team, the Spikes have two target audiences: permanent residents of State College and Penn State students. The biggest area of marketing that the Spikes have failed to master, Wells said, is the students. Despite this, recent grassroots efforts have proven more successful.

“We would literally just walk around campus with a megaphone, handing out fliers,” Wells said.

Getting into the sports industry is a challenge. “With sports, not everyone is going to find a job in their hometowns,” Miller said. “You have to be willing to travel.”

The Spikes hire lots of interns throughout the year. “Experience is key! We need people to perform straight from the get-go,” Wells said.

“Sports is tough, but it’s a great time.”

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