A Playbook for Breaking Through in Sports PR

Published on 31st October 2022

This insight post is a summary of the original blog post published by Jonathan Pocius of Coyne PR View the original, full-length blog post.  

View as originally seen on O’Dwyer’s. 

The sports landscape has evolved tremendously during the past several years, providing opportunities for brands, including non-traditional organizations, to connect with consumers and key audiences. In many ways, sports provide an outlet for fans to escape from everyday routines with a news cycle often full of engaging and exciting topics. 

As the sports industry becomes a more powerful platform, an increasing number of players are competing for visibility. Our Coyne PR Sports team is often challenged by clients to create well-designed game plans to help them stand out above the competition just as athletes are competing to do in the world of sports. Here’s a look inside the huddle on some of the ways our team anticipates the next play and develops winning game plans for clients: 

Rethinking the Playing Field 

Historically, when a client approached us and said, “We’d like sports coverage,” our first instinct was to focus on exactly this: sports media and sports beat writers. However, the definition of the sports “beat” has been redefined and has required brands to reshape their playbook. 

Today, sports means so much more and intersects with countless industries including technology, lifestyle, business and entertainment. Examples include the growth of sports betting, NIL opportunities for college athletes, players becoming more focused on their personal brands and passions, plus initiatives off the field and the emergence of digital collectibles and NFTs. 

With this in mind, the first thing we do is map out how a client’s story connects to these areas. What story do we want to tell? How will it help the brand? In which different ways can we tell the story? What can we do to transform a singular announcement into a more robust narrative? Like any good coach, it’s important to set goals in terms of where you want to be so both the agency and brand are aligned on what success looks like. 

Thought Leadership 

Every brand is interested in talking about themselves. An important piece of our recommended playbook is to extend a brand’s voice into larger topics and trends that may be impacting the sports industry and their specific ecosystem. For example, we work with clients in the gaming/sports betting space and have built dedicated thought leadership programs to feature speaking opportunities, panels, virtual education sessions, podcasts and more. 

In this scenario, the traditional playbook needs to be reimagined. While the tendency is to lead with a conversation about what the brand is doing—announcing its recent success, etc.—a thought leadership program focuses on defining how a brand’s experience and insights can help drive the industry forward. There is still so much more to the success of a sports PR strategy. Find out how defining roles, using data-driven insights, taking advantage of tentpole events and authentically engaging customers can help you breakthrough the noise and create successful strategy by continuing to read A Playbook for Breaking Through in Sports PR.


Founded in 1991, Coyne PR has grown to become one of the Top 20 Independent PR Firms in the United States with a reputation for hard work and a solid dedication to client service. Their integrated approach and capabilities to effectively convey messages across earned, shared, paid and owned media for their clients have garnered more than 1,000 industry awards. Their client roster includes many of the most respected companies in the world, such as Hard Rock International, Shell Oil, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Pfizer, VTech and Beam Suntory, to name a few.

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