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Angela N. Pratt

Intercollegiate athletics directors (ADs) in the United States are high-profile representatives of their departments and universities. Their publics include media, sponsors, donors, fans, faculty, students, and government officials. However, few studies have explored ADs from a public relations perspective, especially regarding their understandings of public relations. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to learn how ADs understand public relations in the context of their athletics departments. A phenomenological approach was used to pursue this purpose. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I ADs. Their transcripts were analyzed using comparative-analysis procedures. The findings show that the participants understand public relations as integrated impression management: a combination of image, message, and action/interaction. Integrated impression management ties into ideas from Goffman (1959), as well as systems theories of public relations. However, the results also imply that ADs do not necessarily separate public relations from other disciplines such as marketing.

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G. Clayton Stoldt, Lori K. Miller and Mark Vermillion

The purposes of this study were to gain insights regarding how sport public relations practitioners in the United States define public relations goals, identify linkages between the public relations function and overall organizational goals, and evaluate public relations’ effectiveness. Using a modified approach to a method first employed by Hon (1997, 1998), the investigators queried 30 public relations professionals in diverse sport settings. Findings indicated that achieving some sort of outcome with an intended audience, although those outcomes varied, was the most common goal. Respondents also indicated that there were linkages between public relations and organizational goals, although the nature of those linkages was not always specified. The most common method of evaluating public relations was tracking media coverage.

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Chang Wan Woo and Michael K. Davis

Sports-related programs in higher education need to educate students in the professional use of evolving communication technologies. In addition, students need to develop soft skills, such as problem solving and critical thinking, while improving their practical use of technology. The purpose of this article is to introduce the use of fantasy sports in a sports management class, more specifically a sports public relations class, and discuss how students perceived the use of fantasy sports in course assignments. We explain how the use of fantasy sports assignments promoted social constructivist learning of students and helped students develop soft skills. We also identify the pedagogical challenges the fantasy sports assignments presented to students and instructors. We also offer summaries of students’ class reflections to demonstrate how such reflections echoed course learning outcomes.

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Brody J. Ruihley and Lisa T. Fall

Public relations (PR) activities in college athletics are concerned with many types of people, organizations, and businesses. The success of a program depends on support from these constituents. The purpose of this research was to determine the perception of PR roles in a college athletic environment. One goal was to determine how many athletic directors (ADs) occupy PR positions in their department or what position they perceive to be most involved with PR. A second goal was to examine attitudes held by ADs regarding the importance, benefits, and responsibilities of PR officers. A final goal was to determine what role behaviors PR practitioners are exhibiting. This study provides empirical research in the area of PR, specifically in college athletics. The findings provide a benchmark for the PR literature in relation to the sports industry, how PR fits into the sports structure, and what roles PR plays in college athletics.

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Christoph G. Grimmer and Edward M. Kian

This article examines German print sport journalists’ perceptions, experiences, and relationships with Bundesliga clubs’ public relations (PR) staffers and each club’s designated press spokesperson, as well the impact of a competitive, multitier 21st-century media environment on their jobs. All Bundesliga clubs are now disseminating more multimedia content on their own through official Web sites and social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Meanwhile, the German newspaper industry is in a state of transformation and decreased prominence among mediums in German sport journalism. A survey of print journalists who cover Bundesliga clubs showed that these changes have affected the historic symbiotic relationship between the sporting press and Bundesliga clubs. Power and media autonomy have increased for Bundesliga clubs and their designated press spokespersons, while print reporters are more dependent on the clubs’ PR staffers to provide access. The surveyed journalists recognize the increasing power of television in German sport journalism, but nearly half do not consider this as negative for their jobs. These print sport journalists are called on to find new ways and types of media content to begin restoring the needed balance in a symbiotic relationship between independent press and PR, while also distinguishing their work from televised media content.

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Udi Carmi and Orr Levental

, underscoring the political and propaganda value of sports in Israeli foreign policy. 6 This paper examines how the young State of Israel used sport to realize its goals. We discuss how the Olympic delegations were placed at the disposal of Israeli information and public relations campaigns and how the official

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Michael G. Dolan

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Steve Cernohous

Column-editor : Gretchen Schlabach

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G. Clayton Stoldt and Mark Vermillion

Employing an organizational public relations (PR) roles typology, this study addressed differences in the professional use and perceptions of social media based on the primary PR roles of college athletics communicators. Data were gathered via an online survey of members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (N = 518). Results indicated that those in management roles spent significantly more time working with blogs and social media than technicians did. Managers and technicians also differed significantly in several ways regarding their perceptions of the impact of social media and their relationship with traditional mainstream media. The findings contribute to an understanding of how PR roles have evolved in the era of social media, as well as role-related dynamics specific to social media in college sport PR.

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César García

Real Madrid Football Club is today the richest sport team in the world and the third most valuable sport brand, according to the latest rankings (e.g., Deloitte, 2010; Forbes 2009). This scholarly commentary proposes the application of a relationship management model of building long-lasting relationships with fans as the main key of Real Madrid’s success. Results of this study highlight that, under the presidency of Florentino Pérez, a public relations approach has been integrated into every strategic decision including the recruitment of players with media appeal; the use of event planning, Internet, social media, promotional tours, and publications; and the display of Real Madrid’s own audiovisual media. The adoption of this model has proven successful despite poor sports results.