Story by Matthew Chodosh

As a public relations major, my goal is to seize any opportunity I can find to get experience in communications. And after an amazing first year at UO, I have been able to combine this goal with my new passion for sports media, particularly social media.

nametagI found out about the Sports PR Summit opportunity through the Warsaw Sports Business Club. When I heard the founder of the event was looking for help from college students, I jumped on it immediately. To be honest, I had no idea what the event was. All I knew was that the words “sports” and “PR” were in the same title, so I couldn’t pass it up.

Thankfully, the two-day event was only a one-hour drive from my home in Monterey, California, so I didn’t have to go far. After a bit of research, I found out it was a full-day social media workshop in San Francisco for industry leaders, innovators and athletes. I was in for a good time.

Day 1:  Check-ins and networking

On the first day of my multi-day journey, I was tasked with checking guests into a reception and handing out their credentials. This reception served as an evening networking opportunity for attendees at the Bleacher Report headquarters in downtown San Francisco.

After I finished my duties, I had the chance to chat and pick the brains of numerous sports media specialists from Twitter, Bleacher Report, NCAA, and Pac-12 Networks.

Day 2: Live-tweeting and learning
The main event took place at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. My responsibilities were to check in guests, live-tweet the many speakers and discussions, and manage visual displays in the showroom. Luckily, I received live tweeting experience in my spring-term J100 class, so I was well prepared to keep all followers updated throughout the event.

Attendees and student volunteers learned from experts at the 2016 Sports PR Summit, hosted at Twitter HQ.

Attendees and student volunteers learned from experts at the 2016 Sports PR Summit, hosted at Twitter HQ.

Throughout the many impressive keynotes I heard, Emmanuel Acho, a former NFL linebacker, was the most inspiring. He began his session with the notion that professional athletes are walking billboards for brands. Since many athletes have millions of followers on social media, they are often told by agents, coaches and brand executives to triple-check what they post. Acho also discussed his experience with The Players Tribune, a media company that provides athletes with a platform to connect with fans through first-person accounts of their lives, and his piece “Two Weeks in Nigeria.” His overall discussion was thought-provoking and by far the most memorable I heard at the event.

All in all, my time at the 2016 Sports PR Summit was an unforgettable experience. I had the chance to meet and network with a number of sports PR executives from various corporations, universities, and start-ups.

I was also exposed to an incredible amount of insight into the new wave of social media technology. I learned about the use of live media and its distinct ability to connect fans with athletes on a global scale. Social media has become the most important method of fan engagement and an essential tool for sponsor-athlete relationships.

My experience at the Sports PR Summit will definitely enhance my abilities as I begin my brand and marketing internship with the Emerald Media Group in the fall. I feel that my networking skills have drastically improved just by attending this event and making connections. I’ve learned that you should take advantage of any media-related opportunity available, because you never know who you will meet.

Matt Chodosh plans to graduate from the SOJC with a degree in public relations in 2019. Right now, he is a brand and marketing intern for Emerald Media Group, and he hopes to pursue a career in sports business or entertainment focusing on marketing, management or public relations. Follow him on Twitter @MattChodosh22