For me, public relations is about selling products, services and ideas, and yesterday’s conclusion to the Premier League reminded me that the Premier League is a ‘product’ which has very much sold itself this season; we had a title race that went down to the final day contested by two teams who both played fantastic football, and a well-earned congratulations to Manchester City on retaining the crown.
Plus, we have an all-English European Cup Final between Liverpool and Spurs to look forward to at the start of June, with an all-English Europa League Final between Arsenal and Chelsea taking place a few days before, too.
It’s the strength and competitiveness of the Premier League that arguably makes it the best and most popular league in the world, with the League, its teams and players now known the world over. For example, whenever I go on holiday and say I’m from Manchester, the first question I get is almost always “United or City?”
The success and popularity of the League can also bring prosperity to the towns and cities that its teams are based in too. For example, Manchester has always been well-known the world over, be it for The Industrial Revolution, the ‘Mad-chester’ music of the eighties and nineties or countless other things (upon learning I was from Manchester, a bloke once started talking to me in a bar in America about Karl Pilkington of all people, for example).
I would argue that an extra dimension has been added by the fact that we now have two top football teams. As I said, the question when I’m abroad is now “United or City?”, and I would argue that both Manchester City and Manchester United now being well-known across Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia has been one of the factors that has helped lead to increased tourism to the City Centre and the surrounding area. (The latest tourism figures for the city show that visitors from overseas increased by 10% in 2017, according to the Office of National Statistics.)
Increased tourism then means a boost for the local economy too, as not only will hotels increase their takings, but so will the area’s restaurants and bars and museums. It can also lead to the opening of new businesses as well, with the increasing number of his compatriots visiting the city is arguably one of the factors that led to Pep Guardiola opening the restaurant Tast last year.
Chambers of commerce and tourism boards the world over know that sport is a great way to bring people to a place too – for example, it’s why Wigan Council puts the town’s two professional teams at the centre of its efforts,
Companies will also sponsor sporting events too. Our client Williams BMW has proudly sponsored the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament for a number of years now, for example. In addition, the company also supports charitable causes with sports at their heart, and Williams BMW’s Liverpool showroom last week waved off Sir Chris Hoy at the launch of Heidi’s Challenge.
So sports can be a fantastic way to bring attention to products, events and causes, and it’s for these reasons that sports and public relations will continue to have a close relationship, as companies will continue to use sports to boost their profiles, build awareness and sell products, services and ideas.