Sports PR, along with every industry, has changed, but I maintain that those that publicize teams, individuals and products are in the business of making information and access relatively simple for media that cover them.
The Buffalo News Bills’ beat reporter Tyler Dunne shared the team’s 2016 media policies on the first day of OTAs (organized team activities) which outline more restrictions than than the SEC (the Securities Exchange Commission, not the Southeastern Conference).
As Dunne noted, NFL teams have become increasingly stringent with what can and can’t be transmitted via emerging media and player access, but the Bills’ policy is puzzling. Did personnel from management to coaches to publicity staffers think that media were going to accept the limitations and go about their days? Reporters’ livelihoods depend on access and many of these items do everything but welcome them and thus, their audiences. The latter, of course, are the ticket and merchandise-paying public.
I’m not privy to what was considered before the policy was released, but when PR restrictions are put in place, there should be as much concern for possible repercussions as protecting your client. In this case, the client is the Bills organization. If ramifications outweigh benefits, professionals should take a second look and strongly consider modifying them. The result will be more positive press on what is in essence, Day 1 of the NFL season.
©Gail Sideman; PUBLISIDE.com 2016