Public Relations, Soccer, and Sunshine–How I’ll Spend My Summer Vacation.

Yesterday was my first step into the real PR world. It was my first day at my internship, and it couldn’t be with a more perfect organization for the goals I have for myself this summer (no pun intended).

My excitement walking into Sahlen’s Stadium actually resembled a kid on her first day of kindergarten.

This wasn’t because the stadium tour involved sitting in the sun on the turf watching players practice the sport that took over twelve years of my life–even though this was something that I couldn’t be more thrilled about. But it was because I get the chance to experience everything I was taught in my media relations class–to learn firsthand how to professionally write a press release specifically for the team, how to coordinate media requests, how to implement social media campaigns. Yes this may sound boring to many, but for a communications student who has only written class assignments from case studies, this opportunity is a huge deal that leaves me with pure excitement.

The thing about this internship is that even after the first day, I can connect so many concepts I learned from my professor to this sports industry and more specifically, to this single Rochester Rhinos organization. No matter what industry you are in, the organization has key messages, a key audience, and different vehicles to utilize and implement different ideas. It may look simple from the outside, but so much goes on behind the scenes to make a professional sports organization run smoothly, and this summer is my first chance, not to sit up in the stands and watch the Rhinos play the games, but to sit in the press box and take game notes, to work with the media and players, and to LEARN how communications skills, plans and campaigns are applied in the “sports world.”

Maybe I’m getting excited too soon. After all, I’m still in the orientation process. However, tomorrow is my first game as a member of the Rhinos organization. And even being an intern, the smallest one on the “corporate ladder,” I couldn’t be happier to embrace every moment and lesson that this summer has to offer–no matter how small the task and no matter how many mistakes that will inevitably be made in my first internship.

#GoRhinos

A little throwback for the soccer-themed summer.

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-Rachel

Thoughts from a Female Fan Who Would Rather Watch a Baseball Game Minus the Feathered Boa.

Call me crazy, but I am a baseball fan and yes shockingly, I am female. Everyday in my PR classes I study how companies target audiences with an intent to bring greater awareness to their organization and call said audience to a specific action (e.g. buy tickets, view games). One of Major League Baseball’s target audiences is their current and potential female fan base. As the MLB is showing a consistent decline in sales and viewership, it is critical to build up this female audience.

As a female who has loved the Yankees since I first stepped up to that tee at five years old (no I don’t remember the exact moment, but just roll with me here), I don’t really see how nine MLB teams plan to grow a female audience by—what I believe—is through patronizing that audience.

Adweek recently put out an article sharing how nine clubs will be holding “Ladies’ Nights.” At first glance I was a little concerned yet curious about the idea, but hey maybe that just meant a discount and a t-shirt? Wrong. The MLB’s (not all teams, just the nine) idea of a “Ladies’ Night” is giving out free jewelry, boas and wine to bring in that female audience.

And that’s where they lost me. Boas. At a BASEBALL GAME. America’s past time. You know the place for beer, hot dogs and Cracker Jacks? They want to hand out bracelets and feathered boas. Call me crazy again, but unless it is a bride-to-be’s bachelorette party, feathered boas have no place in a baseball stadium.

I understand the necessity to find ways to lure in your target audience, but stereotyping female fans so much that you believe a female will only come to a game to receive free jewelry and a boa is pretty offensive.

With the decline of MLB ratings and sales, marketing strategies need to be on point with their target audience. I get it MLB, you think if you add glitter and pink to the game, the girls will come running. But what about the fans who grew up playing catch in their backyard? The girls who went from Tee-Ball to Coach Pitch to Little League to playing for her school’s softball team and loving the actual game of baseball. These fans probably (no, definitely) don’t appreciate being alienated by the men in charge who believe you can give a male fan a baseball or bobble head at the door, but need to give a female fan jewelry and glitter. Now if at the gate you offer me a jersey or a discount on the nine-dollar beers and five-dollar hot dogs, maybe we will be in better agreement over this whole marketing thing.

I just want to add that this is not a campaign for all MLB teams as each club has their own marketing departments, opinions and strategies. It’s just nine clubs, but each of those nine clubs does represent the entire league in my opinion.

I do understand the thought process and goal behind launching this “Ladies’ Night” campaign. However, as a current female fan of the game, I just can’t help but be a little offended that it’s assumed I could be lured to a stadium with a feathered boa.

-Rachel

As if you didn’t already know my team:

386977_527323177289624_1465471416_nSenior Year, Spring 2013

1488239_947834601899412_4466598314545749735_nYankees vs Red Sox, Fenway Park, Fall 2014

251625_260864003929812_2945465_nYankee Stadium, Summer 2010