Justin Whitner |Staff Writer
Author Joseph Campbell once said, “The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves.”
Hampton University Professor Monique Smith teaches the Sports Public Relations and Promotion class, otherwise known as PED 345. This course introduces students to the unique nature of sport publicity and public relations in relation to the community, collegiate and professional sport environments. In addition, the class will examine the correlation between publicity and promotions as an overall components of a sport organization’s marketing plan.
“I think that the class is very hands-on, and I personally like that better than a professor who teaches out of a book,” third-year sports management major Paige Price said. “We get do things ourselves and watch it either work or fail. We see first-hand how we can improve and enhance our efforts.”
It is easy to market for a sport such as football or basketball because fans are going to attend those games more than the other sports. Whether the team is being promoted or winning or losing games, fans will always go to support their favorite football or basketball team on a college campus. The real challenge is bringing enough attendees to the sports that do not get the same shine as the headliners.
“This semester, we are focusing on the tennis teams at Hampton University; and as a class, we put themed flyers for their home doubleheader matches together,” Price said. “We post over all social media platforms. From there, we constantly post and retweet what we already put out to get the word around.”
The promotions for the tennis team began in the classroom, where students were given players to interview, study, promote and write human interest stories about their plays on and off the tennis court. When the human interest stories were written, they were publicly released on Twitter next to a picture of the player. This gave the fans of the Hampton Pirates tennis team a chance to connect with the players.
Students in the class attended matches March 16 against South Carolina State. The theme “Litty In the City” was a plan to put the players’ flags up and inform fans about the players’ hometowns. Students in the class created flyers that included the player they represented and the country the player represented.
Nazim Trammell-Wells, a journalism major in the PED 345 class, realized professor Smith was all about vitality in her students when they discussed his podcast.
“Professor Smith approached me after listening to my podcast ‘The Final Score’ and told me that she felt I had a real talent speaking,” Trammell-Wells said. “She ended up challenging me to do a special video for the tennis team doing commentary over the game.”
Smith is working her students to become the best of themselves by making sure they stand out among their peers.
“I learned a lot from Sports PR and Promotions,” third-year sports management major Sydney-Mann Howard said. “In the PR world, it is important to do whatever for the team and athletic department. You will never know what will work, so you have to try it all. Word of mouth is powerful in this business, and all sports need to be marketed.”