Have Sports Press Releases Outlived Their Usefulness?

Have Sports Press Releases Outlived Their Usefulness?

Twitter is the new AP. By that I mean Associated Press, not Adrian Peterson. Everything breaks there first; because it’s so easy.

Press releases by contrast are well-crafted, full page statements that convey a highly controlled message to the masses. However, by the time most get sent out to a given team’s media mailing list/posted on their website, the news has already been out for some time.

Boston Celtics Interactive Media Director Peter Stringer made the statement that “the press release is dead” during his SES Chicago presentation this week. He was one of four panelists for the “Social Media and Sports” presentation at the SES 2011 conference here in The Chi.

He was joined on the panel by San Francisco Giants Social Media Director Bryan Srabian and Chicago White Sox VP of Communications Scott Reifert. It was moderated by Jamie Trecker, Senior Writer, Fox Sports and Fox Soccer Channel.

It’s interesting that the NBA guy, Stringer, made this point on a panel with two MLB guys. I’ve found that baseball seems to be the sport that’s behind the times when it comes to digital media. When Adam Dunn signed with the White Sox, the press release was disseminated to the media more than a day and half after all the news was out.

The Cubs sent out their press release introducing Dale Sveum as the new manager after they had their press conference introducing him to the media. The major reason for that isn’t MLB being slow to adapt, it’s the fact that everything needs to be official and finalized before the press release can go live.

Which only backs up Stringer’s point: by the time it hits the inbox of me, the reporter, the news is probably already old.

However, press releases make a good starting point for an article, because you have all the 5 Ws and the stats ready to copy and paste.

The quotes are USELESS though- I never copy those. PR professionals have told me these quotes are usually made up, never actually said by the individual they’re attributed to. They’re written by the department, not said coach/player. And 99% of the time the quotes are cliche and dull.

“We are pleased to announce our partnership with  x.” “We are honored to welcome y to the x family.” BORING.

And these days you can’t copy and paste press releases anyway (well beyond the obvious plagiarism issues), because one, “everyone has an agenda,” (this was my favorite soundbite of the panel) and two, Google penalizes duplicate content. So PRs are a good starting point, but not a stand alone end product.

A couple of other good nuggets from this session:

Srabian said 90% of Giants fans bring a smart phone to the game. Guess I’m wrong about baseball being an old people sport.

And there are only two jobs in sports: those who play for the team and those who sell the team brand to the public. You’re either one or the other.

You can follow Stringer on Twitter (@peterstringer)

For the full Stringer interview

You can follow Srabian on Twitter (@srabe)

For the full Srabian interview

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports.

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the FWAA, USBWA and SPJ. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too

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