Are media relations for sports and B2B events –the same?
Out of sight of TV viewers, even of the crowd at sporting events, there is a hive of activity that produces a vast and important output very quickly. Hundreds of journalists and photographers create news, interviews, features and pictures that will fill the airwaves, websites, Twitter feeds, newspapers and magazines that day or the next with the help of the media relations team.
I’ve been fortunate to be part of the media relations teams behind the scenes at the London Olympics and several other major international athletics, football and triathlon events and seen this world in action.
Helping media relations
Here is what the public don’t see.
· The Media Centre – a marquee or a room under the stand where the press and photographers prepare, research and later finish their articles or review their pictures. Its most important features are bench desks and power sockets for up to 500 to use; massive broadband capacity continually functioning; TV pictures; all the background information and results immediately available and, vitally, unlimited tea, coffee and water!
· The Media Tribune – the best positioned seats in the venue, tiered desks to watch the event live while writing, wifi, and often with TV replay screens and a results service.
· The Mixed Zone – a corridor between the pitch or course and the changing rooms with branded background boards on one side and a line of interviewers, some with film crews, opposite. Competitors and players can’t get back to the changing room without going along this path and facing the press. Media officers supervise the interviews to ensure that all the press get the chance to ask questions.
· Photography minders – tabard-wearing photographers are supervised by the PR team to ensure that nobody gets in the way of competitors or endangers themselves
· The flash quotes team – members of the PR team standing with the press in the mixed zone who interview competitors and quickly post quotes on the event website and even the big screen with the venue.
· The press and photographers – to meet pressing deadlines, they bash out copy or review hundreds of shots so fast that they often write, then refine 1000 words within an hour or two or spot the ideal picture very quickly. The media centre is usually empty within two hours of the finish – jobs done.
There are many similarities and some main differences – mainly the scale of the operation compared with B2B PR and media relations for events. But, from a media and take away a positive impression of the event because of the service they receive from the media relations team.