9th January 2017
Apprentice star Nick Hewer outlines the crucial nature of PR within sport
Sport is worth a staggering £20billion a year to the UK economy. Where once sports like football were the “working man’s game” for those in the vicinity of a professional team, the modern game has gone global in ways that people couldn’t have imagined.
Because of this, good PR is now vital to the clubs and athletes that make a living from sport. Good PR facilitates deals and sponsorship worth millions of pounds. Good PR is also responsible for Premier League clubs attracting supporters around the world and creating fan bases on every continent.
Star of The Apprentice and Countdown, Nick Hewer spent over 20 years in charge of PR for Lord Sugar during his time running electronics company Amstrad and then Tottenham Hotspur.
Speaking to UCFB Wembley students during his Executive Guest Speaker session, Hewer, who worked his way from junior to owner of a London PR firm, explained in simple terms the necessity of good PR in the professional sport environment.
He said: “Sport, and pre-eminently football, have woven themselves into people’s lives to such an extent that it’s a hugely important element of the average person’s existence. Some would argue it’s taken the place of religion! So therefore PR is absolutely crucial.”
During his time at Tottenham, high profile incidents such as a very public court case between Sugar and ex-manager Terry Venables, and Sugar successfully fighting The FA in overturning an FA Cup ban and points deduction, meant Hewer was at the forefront of the mass media coverage such incidents attracted. Hewer has built close links to reporters in the national press, so he knows exactly what it is they require to get a story, especially in the competitive football and sport market.
He said: “Let’s take The Sun and Daily Mirror – I’ve known journalists on both papers and their necessity to get a scoop is absolutely critical. Their job depends on it. Therefore, they need to have the contacts in order to get the story and that’s where the PR people for the football clubs, the agents and the rest all play an integral part.”
Hewer finished: “Is PR always for the good of the game? Probably not, because papers like to cause a rumpus now and again because it generates readers too. It’s a complicated business but PR in sport, particularly football, is what drives all those pages every day.”