From Ice Rinks to Hardwood Floors: PR in the Sports Industry

by Julia Blanchet

If you are a football fan, fall is your favorite time of the year. September finally arrives and as the dust kicks up while walking from your tailgate to the stadium, you wonder to yourself if your team will win the game. You may even be confident in knowing your team will win. It is a magical feeling but the magic did not come together on its own. Little to no effort is required to be a football fan. However, the time and effort put into every National Football League (NFL) game in order to ensure efficiency is tremendous.

One of the many professionals working to uphold the NFL’s legacy is Communications Manager Andrew Howard. In this thriving industry, it takes a professional who has a passion for what they do combined with the skill and knowledge to get the job done. On April 7, at the Next Generation PR Regional Conference (NextGenPR) at California State Fullerton, students from the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) had the opportunity to hear from Howard directly about his journey.

As a Communications Manager at the NFL, Andrew Howard is a prime example of a true professional in the sports industry. His persistence, confidence and skills are inspirational for any young PR professional. Howard says he, “works in an environment in which everyone shares the same love for sports and the same talent in communication.”

Howard shared with PRSSA students that ironically, he did not major in public relations but rather earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at University of California, Los Angeles. Although he did not have a lot of PR experience in college, the relationships he built have landed him where he is today. There is no doubt that Howard has managed to combine work and play. His work history ranges from interning for the National Hockey League with the Los Angeles Kings, to working as NBA public relations staff for the Golden State Warriors.

At the NextGen PR Conference, Howard emphasized the importance of internships and building strong connections. Howard believes that working in the sports industry is less about knowing every statistic and more about understanding the dynamics of the game and the storylines. Today, Howard juggles finding time for coordinating interviews, writing press releases, managing media schedules, promoting daily content and assisting in major NFL productions such as the Super Bowl. He spoke confidently about handling crises and explained how it is truly a “growing experience,” and you learn as you work. 

Howard enjoys working in an environment where everyone shares the same love for sports and the same talent in communication.  He is an experienced professional in the sports industry. Howard’s persistence, confidence and work ethic are skills every young professional should strive for. He continues to look forward in his career and hopes to eventually dedicate his time to one team in the NFL.

Howard ended his time at NextGenPR by sharing some misconceptions that come with working in the sports industry. One piece of advice? Next time you meet a professional working in the sports industry, do not ask them if they have free tickets to the game! While Howard likes to say he is a fan of all NFL teams, he could not hide his Philly pride and shared that he is a “true Eagles fan.”