The Importance of Public Relations for Baseball Players
Though the primary duty of a professional athlete is to play their sport to the best of their ability, there are other things that they must focus on to have a successful career, as well. One of the most important factors to which an athlete must pay attention is public relations. Having a favorable reputation with the public can significantly increase an athlete's success. As such, many athletes spend a great deal of time and effort trying to perfect their reputations. In this blog, the Ryan Weiss Baseball team will define public relations, discuss some of the reasons why many athletes hire a publicist and list some of the benefits of having a positive relationship with the public.
What are Public Relations?
As public figures, athletes must focus on how the public perceives them, and they can do this by paying particular attention to public relations. Public relations can be defined as intentionally maintaining a favorable relationship with the public by an organization or a famous individual. Though there are some aspects of an athlete's reputation and public perception that they cannot control, there are some things that athletes can do to improve their public relations. One of the most critical aspects of public relations is creating mutually beneficial relationships between parties. In the context of sports, an athlete benefits as a result of receiving support from the public, and that the public benefits because they can see that the athlete to whom they are giving their support is doing great things both on and off of the field.
Why Do Many Athletes Hire Publicists?
Because there are so many benefits of having a positive relationship with the public, many athletes hire publicists to maintain this mutually beneficial relationship. In the current age of press conferences after games and constant news coverage of athletes and their teams, athletes must have someone on their team who maintains their public image.
One of how a publicist can help improve an athlete's public image is to highlight their strengths while also helping them work on their weaknesses. Nobody is perfect, and athletes are no exception. They have flaws and areas on which they need to improve, just like the rest of us. However, it is the job of a publicist to show the public that the athlete is doing their best to work on their flaws to become the best version of themselves, which helps minimize criticism from the crowd.
Sports publicists also help connect their athletes with various types of publications to grow their public presence and their image. This is especially important for younger and less-experienced athletes who are just beginning to enter the world of sports. Some of the different forms of media in which a sports publicist may connect their athletes include:
- Television shows
- Press Conferences
Finally, publicists can work with athletes through times in their careers that are less than ideal. Something will inevitably occur at some point in an athlete's career that sparks public criticism - whether it be an off-the-field event or a dip in athletic performances. Getting through these situations while still maintaining a positive public image requires expert navigation, where publicists can be helpful. Though publicists do not attempt to rewrite the truth or spin the narrative of what has happened, they help the athlete take accountability and courteously tell their truth. One of the essential parts of navigating through a public relations "crisis" is to focus on all of the positive aspects of the athlete and the great things they have accomplished in the past. Publicists can help athletes ensure that they have an impressive resume that they can fall back on if they need it.
How Good Relations With the Public Can Be Beneficial for Athletes:
Though some people support athletes solely due to their athletic abilities, others focus on an athlete's presence off the field to decide who they should root for. As such, athletes who are perceived positively by the public have an advantage in attracting support from fans. There are various reasons that athletes want to ensure that they have a positive public image, and we have listed and described four of these reasons below.
For athletes, sponsorships have the potential to make up a large portion of their income. As such, many athletes look to form partnerships with as many brands as possible. However, companies only want to work with athletes who have positive relationships with the public, as they wish to generate the maximum amount of support for their campaign possible. If individuals see that an athlete they like and support is partnering with a specific brand, they are more likely to support that brand due to this partnership. However, if a brand partners with an athlete who has a negative reputation, individuals may be more hesitant to support the brand.
Additionally, one of the essential parts of a company's marketing strategy is establishing trust with its potential customers. Partnering with an athlete who is generally liked and trusted by the public allows a company to foster this same relationship. As such, it is in the best interest of athletes seeking sponsorships to focus on improving their relationships with the public to ensure that they are the ideal candidate for these partnerships with companies.
Increase Their Value
When teams negotiate contracts with their new athletes, they are more likely to offer higher grades of pay to those they believe will generate the most revenue for the club. Though incredibly talented athletes bring in a great deal of income, those who are beloved by the public do so, as well. As such, if an athlete works to improve how the people see them, they can bring in more money for their club, increasing their value. This increase in value gives athletes more bargaining power when they are negotiating future contracts.
Create Post-Career Opportunities
As much as many athletes would like to, people can not play professional sports forever. As such, many athletes must plan what they would like to do after their playing day's end. However, players who have worked to create an excellent reputation for themselves have many more post-retirement options than those who have not done this. Popular and well-liked players are more likely to be invited to speak on television shows, radio shows, and more. Some particularly well-liked players even go on to work for the team for which they once played.
Form a Relationship of Trust
Almost all athletes suffer from a dip in form at some point in their careers. Because this can be frustrating for fans, many turn against athletes struggling to perform on the field or the court. However, athletes who are well-liked and have strong relationships with the public can work through these tumultuous times more effective than those who have not established these relationships. Athletes who have selected themselves as trustworthy can more effectively assure the public that this downturn in form is temporary and that they are doing everything in their power to get back on track. Additionally, people are less likely to feel that an athlete with a positive reputation is at fault for their poor performances. While an athlete who is not as well-liked may be blamed for laziness or not working hard, well-liked athletes are more likely to receive sympathy from the public.
Even though many individuals think about what contributes to a successful career, they do not think of public relations, which is a vital part of playing professionally. To ensure that the public perceives them in the most favorable way possible, many athletes hire a personal publicist who manages their image and reputation in various ways. Athletes who have a positive relationship with the public have many more opportunities than those who do not, and as such, it is much more likely that well-liked athletes will have a successful careers. We hope that this article was of interest to you if you are an athlete working on improving their public image or interested in the field of public relations.