Sport Communication and Media Relations in 2018

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Technology has changed how we communicate in myriad ways. A huge wave of bloggers, influencers and social media experts has all but washed away old media dinosaurs like newspapers, magazines and radio programs. Technology has revolutionized communication, allowing us to connect with a host of sport media channels and influencers on a variety of platforms, from streaming content on websites to following bloggers and connecting on social media sites.

Modern technology has also led to a new way in which we engage in sport communication and media relations. Fans can do everything from watch ad-free HD sport content over the internet to engage with their favorite athletes in their fantasy league teams. As this new technology-based communication in sports continues to evolve and expand, you can expect to see the following trends in the upcoming years in sport communication and media relations:

Image via Flickr by West Point – The U.S. Military Academy

Upcoming Trends in Sport Communication and Media Relations

While 2018 promises many trends to look forward to in the area of sport communication and media relations, some of the trends that are helping to change the face of sport communication from previous years are as follows:

  • An Increase in Gamification

With fantasy leagues, interactive apps and online games, fans want to do more than watch; they want to be part of the action and interact with sports commentators, reporters and even athletes. Many sports enthusiasts will enjoy entering into contests, playing media-related games, watching sport communication posts and videos and being able to comment on what they have seen as well as interact with others in the forums. This not only requires those who work in the field to provide exciting and up-to-date reports but also encourages them to find ways to engage the readers and fan base.

  • Technology Innovations in Videography

Drones are changing the way cameras are able to get into the game. Not only can drones cover a wide area in a short period of time without the risk of injuring a reporter or player, but they can also allow for angles that could not be achieved with previous camera equipment. This unique coverage that allows reporting from closer to the action helps viewers feel like they are on the field or in the stadium, even if they are sitting at home.

  • Game Watching in a More Social Environment

Technology and information are right at your fingertips, and you can keep in contact with friends and other fans during the game through texting and social media posting. This creates an environment where watchers who used to actively watch every aspect of the game, sometimes only taking short breaks during commercials to refill their snacks, are now talking on social media, interacting with friends and viewing information about players all while the game is on.

This new approach to game viewing encourages sportscasters, commentators and influencers to produce content that is more engaging and entertaining to better compete with the other distractions.

  • Increased Live Streaming

Whether it’s on a smartphone, tablet or laptop, more and more people are streaming their games live wherever they may be instead of making sure to get home or get to a friend’s house in time to watch the big game. Live streaming not only offers convenience for viewers with its on-the-go capability, but it also allows viewers to watch games they may not necessarily see on their normal television channels.

Any West Coast team fan living on the East Coast — or vice versa— will know the pain of missing many of their favorite team’s games. With live streaming, fans will have a much greater opportunity to follow their favorite teams throughout the season, no matter their geographic location. This increase in live streaming may lead to an uptick for online subscription services as well as lower viewership for traditional television services, creating the need for companies to shift into online content to continue meeting the expectations of their advertisers.

How Are Athletes Becoming More Involved in Sport Communication?

An increase in fantasy football leagues and the ability to follow your favorite celebrities via social media has led to viewers wanting more direct interaction with athletes than sports newscasts and commentaries typically provide. What used to constitute as social interaction, such as face-to-face meetings, has been replaced with online communication that allows fans and followers to feel like they are linked socially to people they may never see face to face.

In response to this growing need for interaction, many athletes have embraced the power of social media and sport communication by creating and regularly posting on social media pages. Many athletes will even film and upload short videos for their followers and will often address any public questions or comments.

While many teams are pushing for and requiring some sort of social media fan interaction from their athletes, the athletes themselves seem all too happy to oblige. In the past, many athletes felt they had a strained relationship with the media and some sports reporting agencies, often claiming their words or actions were misrepresented or misreported. This new social interaction and athlete-driven communication allow athletes to represent themselves to fans directly, giving them more control over their image and message. Athletes are also able to comment on complicated topics in the way they want to.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Increasing Technology in the Field of Sport Communication?

As with any new trends, there are a number of pros and cons associated with the rise of technology in sport communication.

  • There Is a Better Opportunity to Connect With Viewers

With social media followers and blog posts, sportscasters, athletes and other sports influencers have more chances to directly connect with their audience and interact with many of them in a short time frame. Where answering calls on a radio show may take much more time, reducing the number of listeners you can talk to, you can comment and respond to several posters simultaneously on online outlets.

  • More Fans Can Watch with Streaming Options

Now that viewers can watch and interact almost anywhere, more and more viewers are tuning into events — even if only for a short period of time. This also allows sport communicators to utilize strategies for viewers who need to take their sports and sport news on the go.

  • There Will Be Much More Competition with Multiple Outlets

One of the drawbacks with the increased technology is that it can create a larger number of sports outlets and sports influencers. Simple having a blog and a strong social media following can draw scores of fellow fans. With the increased number of outlets and variety of channels through which viewers can keep up with events and news, there will be much more competition among media to keep viewers coming back.

  • Content and Information Will Need to Be Engaging and Interactive

With the rising competition comes a growing need to provide engaging content and find ways to increase interaction with viewers. It is no longer about merely reporting something first or having the best information. Now, fans expect information to be delivered in an engaging and fun way that allows them to feel like they are a part of the action.

What Does This Mean for Those Going into the Field of Sport Communication and Media Relations?

These new trends are causing a shift in how sport communication and media relations are now being handled. Some of the most important changes these new trends will cause include the following:

  • Sport Communication Will Require a Strong Social Media Presence

Since so much of the interaction, reporting and news is gained from social media, those in the field of sport communication will need to focus on social media as a key part of their strategy instead of simply a complement. According to a study by the University of Florida, 54 percent of all journalists use Twitter regularly for posting, making it one of the top social media channels fans can use to stay connected to sport news updates. This new trend will also make growing a social media following an essential for any sport communication professional.

  • Sport Communication Will Be More Athlete-Driven

Athlete interactions not only give the impression that the report is coming directly from the source but also make fans feel more connected to their favorite players in a way that they couldn’t before. Athletes and their social media videos and comments will likely begin to replace regular pre- and post-game interviews and serve as ways for athletes to comment on public stories.

New trends in sport communication and media relations arising from the increased role of technology have led to a demand for qualified professionals in the sport communication arena. Sport communication is an exciting and growing field that will require a variety of skill sets from those who choose it as a career. If you are interested in learning more, consider a course on Sport Communication & Media Relations as a part of the online Master of Science in Sport Management. Visit Adelphi University online today to get started!

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