Some recent events in sports emphasized the function of public relations, perhaps in its broadest form.
I was recently on a road trip when I stopped at a restaurant. There were several televisions inside the restaurant. News channels have a certain “look” when breaking news has happened—for example, a plane crash or the president make an imperative decision, the headline stays at the bottom of the screen in big letters, and the reporters discuss and project image and video on repeat. ESPN had that “look” that day. One of the current greatest names in the NBA, LeBron James, had announced that he would be moving from the Miami Heat back to his hometown and original team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Though people who do not follow the NBA may not be influenced at all by this piece of news, however, the influence of James’ decision was far too strong to be ignored. The Cavaliers immediately sold out of season tickets and increased its revenue, which was a struggle in the past years with James playing on a different team. There was even speculation about James boosting Cleveland’s economy by up to $500 million. Although that is unlikely to happen, the optimism and improvements in the Cleveland Cavaliers organization and its fans will be evident this coming season.
Public relations in its broadest form is all about relationships and influence. People can build relationships with and be influenced by someone without even knowing him or her personally. Fans feel loyal to James when he gains the team championships. In PR, our ultimate goal is to create customer loyalties through relationships. If we have a relationship as strong as ones between fans and LeBron James, we can succeed in the way Cleveland is succeeding right now.