Tag Archives: “Sports PR”

But I Don’t Wanna Grow Up!

No, this is not me

No, this is not me

When asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” most little boys have three standard responses:

1) A police officer

2) A fireman

3) A baseball player

As they get older, most kids find other interests and realize that Major League Baseball is probably not in their future. I was not one of those kids. I was 17 years olds and still convinced that me and Kenny Lofton would be sharing the outfield at Jacob’s Field one day.

Turns out I was wrong. Apparently being a 6’2″, 150 lb senior in high school isn’t exactly what the scouts are looking for.


So, like everybody else, I graduated from high school and had to pick a “real” career.


I eventually decide to pursue a career in public relations, with every intent of working for a sports team. Like most people in the world, I couldn’t tell you what public relations did or meant, or how I could apply it to sports, but it sounded fun.

Five years later, I think I finally get it.

Before I explain my revelation, you have to understand my obsession with sports. I watch the 6 a.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. episodes of Sportscenter every day. I have read every single Bill Simmons and Rick Reilly article since the summer of 2004. I love everything about competition, from the perils of training to the thrill of victory. I can rationalize and appreciate just about any form of competition there is…

…Except for horse racing.

I don’t get it. People actually watch this garbage? A little dude rides around a muddy track on an enormous horse for two minutes, and this is exciting? Excuse me? Am I the only person who is completely baffled by this? Am I the only person who was thoroughly annoyed this weekend because ESPN was dominated by the Kentucky Derby? Am I crazy? Here is what’s wrong with the Kentucky Derby:

The Horse Names

Growing up, a lot of my friends had pets, and those pets had “normal” names like “Buddy”, “Nick”, “Scooter” ,”Fluffy”, and “Captain.” You know, standard, one-word nouns that your pet could learn and respond to. My uncle had a Golden Retriever named Nick. Nick new his name, and Nick would respond when he was called.

Well, apparently, the bigger the animal, the bigger and more ridiculous its name has to be. Oh, and they can be entire sentences! This years Derby winner’s name was ” Mine That Bird”, followed by “Pioneerof the Nile” and “Musket Man” Could you image every time you wanted to call your dog inside you had to yell, “HEY! Pioneerof the Nile, get over here!?” Ridiculous. 

The Stupid Hats

Apparently this "outfit" won an award...

Apparently this "outfit" won an award...













Enough said. 

The Cost of the Horse

Some of these race horses are sold for tens of thousands of dollars. You are telling me that there are animals out there that are worth more money than my car? Some snobby millionaire is willing to pay $40,000 for a horse that he will never ride, never actually take care of himself, never develop a relationship with and probably won’t live more than a decade? You have got to be kidding me.

The Competition

So now we have a stadium full of snobby millionaires wearing goofy looking hats, cheering for the horse(s) they own, but they are so far removed from their “investment” that they probably couldn’t pick it out of a line up. Thrilling. The race begins. Everybody cheers. Two minutes pass. It’s over. 

Lets pretend that I pay my horse $40,000 per race. The race lasts two minutes. That equates to an hourly rate of $1.2 million. Well worth the money… 

Say my horse wins. Who gets the prize money? The horse? He did the actual work to win the race. The trainer? He put in the hard work and dedication get the horse into shape. The jockey I paid $11/hr to ride my horse? He guided my horse to victory. No. I get the money. I can chose to do with it as I please, but I get the money…and I did nothing but write a big ass check to some breader in Oklahoma. Fantastic “sport.” 

My Epiphany 

So now we are back to my revelation. In my opinion, the Kentucky Derby is the single greatest sporting achievement in the history of the public relations and marketing fields. You cannot tell me that these millionaires actually give a damn about some mammoth horse, or the mini person riding it. But I bet those millionaires are treated like gold. I bet they feel like they are much more important than they really are. I bet Churchill Downs puts on a quite a show for these people. 

The Kentucky Derby is marketed as an experience. By attending, you are considered among the elite, you are treated like royalty and encouraged to relax and enjoy the races. It really is amazing. The public relations work that goes into an event like this is astounding. The marketing is brilliant. The prestige is unmatched. The competition … an after thought. 

Five years ago, if you were to tell me that the Kentucky Derby is merely public relations at its finest, I would have introduced you to running water. Today I can accept the fact that I am not going to play Major League Baseball because I can appreciate the affect a public relations practitioner can have on a sporting event, and I can’t wait to have my hand in it.


Too Much Time Tinkering with Twitter

I sat down with the intention of writing a blog about Shaq tweeting during half time. I know this is old news, but now that Twitter has officially arrived as a social media power, I thought it would  be fun to debate whether athletes should or shouldn’t be tweeting during games.

If you have ever blogged before, you know that in order to make your post a little more interesting you want to post links to other sites with more information, use pictures and videos to support your ideas etc.. I typed “Shaq + Twitter” into my google search bar and started going through some of the links that came up.  Approximately 738,000 pages were found, and the very first one was a link to Shaq’s twitter page

All I wanted to do was get some “Shaq-tastic” quotes, maybe post a pic or two of Shaq, then explain to everyone why professional athletes tweeting is such a interesting idea. Then I got what I like to call, “Bill Sledzik’d.” 

Before I knew it, I was watching videos of Shaq-quote’s,

and Shaq-rap’s,  

and Shaq-dunk’s.

Next I was reading articles about Shaq-tweet’s, and checking out who Shaq is following on twitter and who those people are following. Then I found some musicians that I listen to, like Common, so I start reading his blog. Next thing I know, four hours have passed, I am following 40 celebrities on Twitter, and have not accomplished a single thing. Yet I allowed over 50 people to communicate with me, whether they wanted to or not. 

Brooke Burke “told me” what her and her family did for Easter. 

Common “told me” about his blog. 

Tony Hawk “told me” that he found a DMSR (whatever the hell that is).

The most intriguing find of the night was Paul Pierce on twitter. Pierce doesn’t only tweet about what he had for dinner, or who the Celtics are playing next, but he uses it to promote charities that he supports and organizations that need donations. He also uses it to promote ticket sales for upcoming games and let his followers know where his next appearance is going to be. 

I find it very refreshing that there are people using these social media tools to have a positive impact on the community around them, not just to inflate their ego or promote their vanity, and I am sure there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who don’t care about any of this and think Twitter is a complete waste of time.  Those same people probably think the last four hours of my life, along with the last ten minutes of their lives that were spent reading my blog was a waste of time.

Those are also the same people who are missing out on the tangents in life that can be so interesting and enlightening, even though we should stay “on task.” 

Four hours ago, I was among the group who thought Twitter was a waste of time. I thought I understood it, I thought it had no real value other than being a time waster, and I thought athletes tweeting during games was an ok idea, but they should probably be focusing on the game. 

After four hours of “wasting time” I think I can say with some confidence that Twitter might not be such a bad idea after all. Why not have Shaq tweeting during games? Maybe more people will tune in to because they feel like they have a more personal relationship with Shaq. Maybe the audience that feels like they are too far removed from the sports world to care about it will be rejuvenated by the new level of interaction with the athletes. Or maybe people think players won’t be as focused on the game as they should be and lose respect for the game. 

I think that over the years it has been proven that fans love to be involved. If Twitter helps a person feel move involved with their favorite team or athlete, then tweet away Shaq. If your tweets put only one more body in the stands, you can call it a success, and if it doesn’t, who cares? You can’t lose anything by trying. 

I am starting to love this whole social media (err.. wasting time) thing. Having athletes get in on it only makes it that much more fun.