Sport Public Relations and Communication

Sport Public Relations and Communication
by Maria Hopwood, Paul Kitchin and James Skinner
288 Pages, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2010

The content of this new textbook is very informative whilst being easy for students to understand. This makes the book worthwhile to read if you are a marketing professional, a PR professional or a university student.

The authors are all highly experienced in the fields of marketing, communications and PR. Maria Hopwood, a senior lecturer in public relations at Leeds Metropolitan University, is also an editorial board member of Public Relations Review and the International Journal of Sport Communication.

Paul Kitchin lectures in Sport Management at the University of Ulster, whilst also working as deputy editor for the International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship and serving on the editorial board for the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing.

James Skinner is an Associate Professor in Sport Management at Griffith University in Australia. He publishes in leading sport management journals and along with his co-authors is a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Sport Communication.

The book and its content have been carefully written to illustrate the changing world that of sport public relations. Some key themes that are apparent just from the contents page are the depth that the book goes into, for example the role of PR in sport is shown from the fans, the club and the players perspective.

The book is written from an international viewpoint. Some key international case studies that I found were useful and relevant to the modern day are the case study looking at a social media experiment involving the NFL franchise, Indianapolis Colts. This case study explores the benefits of using Web 2.0. Another interesting case study looks at a PR crises over the years within American sport, the study picks out three major crises:

  1. The positive testing of anabolic steroids by a Major League Baseball player
  2. Kobe Bryant’s rape allegations
  3. Ray Lewis’s murder allegations

This case study looks at the techniques used to calm the media storm following these crises. The book is very up to date surrounding newer technologies. Along with the recent technology trends, the book also looks at recent scandals and issues such as the recent problems in international cricket.

‘Sport Public Relations and Communication’ is a fresh and relevant take on the role of PR and communication within contemporary sport. This book provides a wealth of in-depth examples from a variety of sporting nations.

The book draws on a wide variety of sources, some coming from Dr Jacquie L’Etang at the University of Stirling and Professor David Shilbury at Deakin University, Australia.

The only criticism I have of the book, is that there is a lack of diagrams of theoretical models, which makes it very wordy.

To summarise, this book is an essential resource and I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in communications, PR and marketing in sport. The case studies in the book are relevant to the modern day world and provide an insight into the professional world of sport.

Reviewed by Joe Mirtaheri (a Sports Marketing and PR student taught by Maria Hopwood at Leeds Metropolitan University)

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