BY: KARA NORTH
I fell into the world of Public Relations from my interest of working in an industry I never knew was related: sports. I’ve played sports since the youngest age possible and grew up watching baseball, tennis, and any other game, match, or competition that was on. Like any sports fan dreaming of breaking into the industry, I knew my avid fandom would not be enough to get me there. I had high hopes of becoming an agent or a broadcaster or something of the kind… until I found PR.
The reason I took any interest at all in PR was because I often heard it associated with communications, which I had known for years would be my major. It wasn’t until I started attending PRSSA meetings regularly and did some home research that I found PR was commonly associated to another passion of mine: sports. So what exactly can you do in sports PR? There are dozens of avenues, much like there are endless opportunities to explore in all of PR.
A main aspect of the industry deals with maintaining to well-known, idealized images of sports teams, individual athletes, and entire franchises. Exploring the importance of public relations in sports has allowed me to incorporate my intended career with my greatest passions – which don’t just stop with sports. I also love writing, and as a child was always imagining new stories to dream up and now enjoy sharing my thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics. I have also always considered myself creative, and have a knack for problem-solving because of it. Public Relations allows me to integrate all of these and more.
Since my interest in sports PR has grown, so has my knowledge of women’s increasing involvement in a male-dominated industry. While my previous heroes have been Sandy Koufax and Roy Halladay (and still are today), my idols have grown to Tyler Tumminia (VP of marketing and operations for a major sports and entertainment form since 2004) and Jessica Mendoza (pictured above and lone member of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team). I aspire to follow their accomplishments and breakthrough the deteriorating barrier while incorporating all I am continuing to learn about PR.
When I first thought about a career in sports, I dreamed of Major League Baseball. I continue to set my goals high and would love to become involved in their PR team. But, like any dream job, this high goal requires a series of smaller accomplishments. To get on track I am exploring all avenues University of Delaware has to offer in PR and college athletics. I am the producer of “Hens Sports Night” for the Student Television Network and a member of Women’s Rowing. Most importantly, I am learning the behind-the-scenes,business side of the sports industry.
My first real-life, off-campus experience began with a fundraiser I founded in order to donate to the American Cancer Society, an organization I strongly support and admire. Prior to planning for our first event – a 5k race – I had known little about what role PR would play in this endeavor. Meticulous planning, branding, and advertising combined with consulting and communicating with our many committee members, were just a few of the strengths I gained as Fundraiser Chair and Founder. Now, preparing for our third race and $9000 later, I have begun to understand the business and PR in athletics. I’ve even experienced another facet of PR through this experience: Non-profit PR, as any form of PR allows and encourages you to do. Clearly, versatility is one of many strengths about this field.
I am truly excited to see where my interest in and commitment to sports PR takes me, and curious to discover the many other aspects of PR I am sure to encounter. Because of PR, a childhood hobby has turned into a career that I love.
Kara is a junior communication major with a writing minor, and the Programs Director for PRSSA-UD. She is also involved on campus as Producer of STN 49’s “Hens Sports Night” and member of UD Women’s Rowing. You can find more of her writing at https://www.theodysseyonline.com/@karanorth. Follow @BlueHenKara on Twitter.