My experience thus far at the Manhattan Sports Business Academy has been everything I was hoping for and more. I am working for one of the premiere sports marketing companies in the world, Leverage Agency.
I am building relationships that will surely last a lifetime. I have listened to some of the best speakers in the industry, such as top sports marketing agent, Carlos Fleming, and the CEO of my beloved Brooklyn Nets, Brett Yormark.
However, this past Monday felt different for me. We were going to hear two speakers from industries I had mixed feelings about: journalism and public relations. On the one hand, I was very excited to hear from one of the best sports journalists in the world, Terry Lefton. I have admired Mr. Lefton’s work ever since I started reading the Sports Business Journal several years ago.
On the other hand, I never had a great interest in public relations. I was under the impression that public relations primarily issued press releases and publicity pieces. Although this did not really appeal to me, I was prepared to listen with an open mind to one of the top PR executives in the country, Bryan Harris, who is the COO and Managing Partner for the public relations firm Taylor.
Listening to Mr. Lefton speak was a great experience. Learning how he worked his way up from the New York Daily News to the Editor-in-Chief at the Sports Business Journal was very interesting. Following this, Mr. Harris discussed his experiences working at Taylor. He stated that his goal by the end of his speech was to give us a different view of the field of public relations. He wanted to show us how far this sector of the sports industry has expanded over the past 30 years. For me, he accomplished his goal.
According to Mr. Harris, the main skill that used to be involved with public relations was salesmanship: having the ability to persuade someone to buy what you are selling. Today, PR firms experience many of the same challenges that marketing professionals experience on a daily basis.
Now, public relations is much more focused on brand planning than it use to be. Mr. Harris understands that one of the key aspects of client-agent relations is that different businesses have different needs. To address this differing client need, his company has brought on professionals with more diverse backgrounds. Making this decision was very beneficial for Taylor, as they have been able to use many different perspectives to help build campaigns for their clients. Being able to best “tell engaging stories” has allowed Taylor to become one of the top PR firms in the world.
This past Monday reinforced to me what MSBA is all about. It is a program that offers us a wide variety of exposure to all areas directly related to the field of sports. I now understand the true benefits of the 360–degree approach. Before today, I never would have considered a career in public relations. Now PR seems like something I might be very interested in. Having the opportunity to learn about all aspects of this industry will most definitely allow me to best hone in on where my passion truly lies.