University of Technology Sydney

57301 Public Relations for Sport

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Communication: Journalism and Writing
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


In this subject students unpack history, trends, practices and issues in contemporary sports public relations. The subject emphasises the cultural significance of sports and the role that public relations plays in the modern business of sport. Students gain a strong theoretical foundation in optimising public relations strategies and tactics and linking theory to practical knowledge in areas such as promotion, sponsorship, campaign management, issues and crisis management and community public relations in sports communication. Students develop understanding of the complex commercial and political world of sports by learning about the importance of how public relations creates, sustains and/or challenges identities of sports individuals, teams and organisations. They develop skills in oral and written communication through varied assessment tasks that require them to research, design, present and evaluate messages in diverse traditional and online media platforms. Assessments in the subject allow students to work individually or in groups that require critical reflection on a nominated sports phenomenon, an opportunity to examine public relations, influence in managing issues and/or crises in sports, and to design, plan and present strategic sports public relations projects.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Analyse key concepts and conflicts in contemporary sports public relations
b. Explore public relations strategies and tactics used in sports communication
c. Design an effective sports public relations strategy
d. Demonstrate written and oral skills in communicating for sports

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

  • Possess an advanced understanding of the professional skills and techniques in contemporary sports media practice (1.1)
  • Be reflexive critical thinkers and creative practitioners who are intellectually curious, imaginative and innovative (2.1)
  • Reflect critically on the professional practice of contemporary sports media (2.2)
  • Demonstrate skills in engagement to enable effective communication with multiple stakeholders, using traditional and emerging techniques (6.1)
  • Harness multiple channels of communication, understanding the power and limitations of each as a tool to spread information and engage specific audiences and communities (6.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is conducted online, with the effectiveness of student engagement and learning determined by each student’s regular participation. Students are required to engage with online materials, both pre-class and during online sessions. Formative feedback will be provided during these activities online. Students are expected to actively participate online. Students explore content discussed in online lectures by engaging in a mix of individual and group tasks that aim to harness skills in critiquing contemporary practice in sports public relations guided by theory. Teaching and learning activities such as simulations, discussing readings and case studies, group discussions about masterclass content, podcasts and other audio-visually recorded materials. Online presentations prepare students to work with each other and engage in synergistic decision-making and participation that inform creative, dynamic, and effective sports public relations projects. Several activities allow students to critique other individual outputs to encourage a constructive, student-centric learning model.

Content (topics)

This subject explores the role of public relations sports communication. Topics examined include the following: fandom affecting audience behaviour, attitudes and values; creating identities in sports through online and traditional media; gender and race in sports communication; issues in contemporary sports; critical theories in sports; sport spectacle and mega-events; community sports; globalisation, culture, and celebrity in sports public relations; and integrated communication campaigns in sports.


Assessment task 1: Critical Essay on Audiences in Sports


a, b and d

Weight: 30%

1,000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Relevance of issues/examples discussed 25 a 1.1
Depth of analysis 35 a, b 2.2
Integration of appropriate literature 25 a 2.2
Clarity of expression and accuracy of referencing 15 d 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Managing Issues and Crisis Communication in Sports


a, b and d

Weight: 30%

Two blog posts of 500 words each

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Integration of theory and practice 25 a 2.1
Depth and pertinence of research 25 a 2.1
Cohesiveness of argument and analysis 25 a, b 2.2
Clarity of expression and accuracy of referencing 15 d 6.1
Engagement with group discourse 10 d 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Sports PR Special Project and Presentations


a, c and d

Weight: 40%

1,500 words per (1 x written report) & Presentation (1 x Powerpoint/Prezi Presentation with voiceover (10 mins & 20 slides max). To completd in pairs (2).

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Appropriateness of proposed campaign strategy 30 c, d 6.2
Persuasiveness of argument 25 c, d 2.1
Depth of research 20 a 2.1
Efficacy of presentation techniques 15 a, d 6.1
Clarity of expression and accuracy of referencing 10 c 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Required texts

There are no required texts for this subject. Recommended readings will be available via UTS Library and the online UTS site.

Recommended texts

Hopwood, M., Kitchin, P., & Skinner, J. (2010). Sport Public Relations and Communication. New York: Routledge.

Hoye, R., Smith, A. C., Nicholson, M., Stewart, B., & Westerbeek, H. (2012). Sport Management Principles and Applications (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.

L’Etang, J. (2013). Sports Public Relations. London: Sage.

Nicholson, M., Kerr, A., & Sherwood, M. (2015). Sport and the Media: Managing the Nexus. New York: Routledge.


Allan, S. (2006). Online news: Journalism and the Internet. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.

Botan, C. H., & Hazleton, V. (Eds.). (2006). Public relations theory II. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bryant, J., & Zillmann, D. (Eds.). (2009). Media effects: Advances in theory and research (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Butsch, R. (Ed.). (2007). Media and public spheres. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cottle, S. (Ed.). (2003). News, public relations and power. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Cunningham, S., & Turner, G. (Eds.). (2010). The media & communications in Australia (3rd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Ginneken, J. V. (2003). Collective behavior and public opinion: Rapid shifts in opinion and communication. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum.

Hopwood, M., Kitchen, P., & Skinner, J. (2010). Sport, public relations and communication. Kidlington, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Hirst, M., & Harrison, J. (2007). Communication and new media: From broadcast to narrowcast. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Newsome, D., Turk, J. V., & Kruckeberg, D. (2010). This is PR: The realities of public relations (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.Ruddock, A. (2007). Investigating audiences. London, England: SAGE Publications.

Ruddock, A. 2007, Investigating audiences, SAGE Publications, London, England.

Scott, D. M. (2013). The new rules of marketing and PR: How to use social media, online video, mobile applications, blogs, news releases, and viral marketing to reach buyers directly (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Stoldt, G.C., Dittmore, S.W., & Branvold, S.E. (2012). Sport public relations: Managing stakeholder communication (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.