By: Riley Holbrook (@RileyHolbrook_)

So you want to get involved in sports PR? Well, you better start earning yourself some experience because so do millions of others.

Public Relations in sports is a unique beast. With the constant exposure, a diverse set of players, and always being wanted by media, there are always opportunities to capitalize and make a connection within the community.

Landing a job in Sports PR is no easy task due to the competitive hiring process. A lot of people want to get involved in a sports organization because of their deep connections with sports throughout their life. Here are some tips on how to boost your chances of getting hired. According to Randy Cleeves, the senior director of public relations for the Grand Rapids Griffins, these are some steps to make it in sports PR:

  1. Get experience now: Whether you are a freshman or a senior there is no excuse for you to have experience. Find the opportunities that allow you to network, volunteer, and get your feet wet within a sports organization. Networking and who you know is usually the tiebreaker in most hiring situations.
  2. Write well: There is zero tolerance for poor writing. Whether you’re a 4.0 student or not, if you can write you will have a leg up on the competition. This also corresponds to having a flawless resume and cover letter.
  3. Provide Value: You need to tell or show the sports organization that is being applied to what you are going to do for them, NOT what they are going to do for you. Comments like “this will be a great resume builder,” should be omitted.
  4. Bounce Around: Most of the jobs in this field of work are in the minor leagues. Are you willing to sacrifice and gain the experience needed before moving up to a larger organization? The willingness to bounce around and become familiar with all the aspects of how an organization is run is a priority.
  5. Set yourself apart: DO NOT talk about how you are a big sports fan. This only puts yourself in a group of 200 million other people. With the combination of all the previous tips is how to truly set yourself apart from the competition and get you going in the right direction to landing your “dream job.”

If you’re unaware of typical PR responsibilities in a sports organization here is what to expect: provide service to others, build and leverage relationships, serve as a spokesperson, manage interview requests, produce news releases and publications, manage the website, coordinate press conferences, assist community relations, submit player transactions, and work on other special projects.

I was involved in the Grand Valley athletic program for nearly three years and the experience and relationships I have gained will carry with me for the rest of my life. The entire athletic department from coaches, game day operators, ticket sales, to the athletic director are all connected and depend on each other for success of the entire program. Whatever assigned position you have plays a key role in the overall success of the program. Give 110% in your work ethic and know that you provide meaning to the organization.


Riley is a senior at GVSU studying Communication and Advertising. He is an account associate for GrandPR and works with LaLa Projects, a remote online marketing agency. His background consists of social media management, Facebook advertising, and customer service.