Day in The Life of a Flyers Intern

I have had the pleasure of being a public relations intern with the Philadelphia Flyers for the 2021-2022 season. After many, many games we have it down to a system and all know what we need to be doing. On a game day we arrive a few hours before the start of the game. For a 7 pm puck drop, we arrive to Wells Fargo Center at 2 pm. Once I arrive, I make my way up to the press box. We start by doing a sweep of the press box; check to see if all the chairs are in the right spots, make sure all the broadcasting booths are unlocked, check for any papers from the last game and throw them away, etc. After that sweep, we start the process of printing all of our packets. We print games notes, clips, recent stats for both teams and lineups. Once these are all printed, they get delivered to our executive’s suite, both the home and away locker rooms, broadcasting booths and visiting team management. Throughout pregame we check in on press meal and credentials. We always have one of us interns at both of these spots leading up to the game. Press meal is available for any media, team staff, NHL scouts, etc. Credentials is located at the employee entrance and is a busy spot. All media, press, NHL scouts and sponsors all have to stop buy and check-in to get their single game credential. Throughout this time, we will help out with random things for the public relations department too! Once warmups start we make our way back up to the press box and make sure all the media/press are in the right seat, check if anyone needs anything, etc. We watch the game from the press box and get to watch the majority of it. When the clock hits 1 minute in the first and second period we grab the official stats sheet from the NHL crew and then make copies to deliver to all those same spots from earlier. When the clock hits 10 minutes in the third period, we make our way downstairs to help prep for the post-game interviews. We sit through all of the interviews and record them on our phones. After all the interviews are complete, we start the process of transcribing all of them. These transcriptions get used for our official website and are sent to media. Once that is complete, it is usually around 10:30-11 pm by the time we make our way out. It is so wild to think that we are down to just one more game this season! I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had this season with the Philadelphia Flyers and am hoping to be back next season.

A Sit Down With a Member of the Philadelphia Flyers PR Team

Walking into the double doors of Flyers Training Center in Vorhees, New Jersey you are
met with a sea of fans repping orange and black. These dedicated fans are here supporting their
favorite team just for a Thursday morning practice. The building is filled with chatter and
cheering as the Captain, number 28, Claude Giroux nets the puck in the last round of a drill. She
heads to the staircase in the right corner that most people probably don’t even notice. The
staircase leads her to long hallways filled with a main desk, offices and interview rooms. The
walls are lined with Philadelphia Flyers articles, artwork, memorabilia and more. She turns into
the third office on the right and she is in her home away from home. The desk is filled with
papers that have the Flyers logo on the top right corner, there is a calendar filled with important
dates and events and all different kinds of to-do lists. The average fan has no idea of all the
important, essential work that gets done at this desk. Alexandra Samuelsson is the Game
Operations Coordinator for the Philadelphia Flyers. Alexandra works in the
communications/public relations department and is the head of public relations right hand lady.

Alexandra attended The College of New Jersey and left with a Bachelor’s degree in
Media and Communications Studies. In September of 2014, Alexandra received her first official
internship in the hockey world. She worked with the Philadelphia Flyers Wives Charities as
game night staff. She would verify the cash sales against receipts, monitor sales, meet sales
quotas, etc. “I can still remember how nervous I was when I got offered that position. But it was
something that I ended up loving and got to be pretty good at,” said Alexandra. Alexandra
worked under the Philadelphia Flyers Wives Charities from September of 2014 to April of 2015.

A year later in 2016, Alexandra applied for and then was offered an official internship
position with the Philadelphia Flyers. From January of 2016 to April of 2018, Alexandra worked
as a Public Relations Intern with the Flyers. Her duties included preparing game documents and
statistical packets, setting up the press box and other media locations in preparation for the game,
aided in the distribution of media credentials, conduct/record post-game interviews and then
transcribe them into documents for official use by the Philadelphia Flyers. “After working in this
position for just a few weeks I knew this is what I loved and wanted to do in the future, ” said
Alexandra.

After the year of working this internship, Alexandra was offered a position with the
Philadelphia Flyers as a Public Relations Assistant right out of college. She was expected to help
out with anything the public relations staff needed assistance with. “I couldn’t believe it. I was
getting to work in the department that I love for an amazing organization,” said Alexandra.
She went on to work in that position for almost four years. Just recently in June of 2021,
Alexandra was offered a full time position as the Game Operations Coordinator. Her duties were
similar to the job and internship before but just more things added to her plate.

The UFC’s Successful PR Tactics During the Pandemic

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is one of the fastest growing sports in the industry currently. Through the pandemic the UFC transformed from targeting a niche sporting audience to becoming a mainstream sport, and an industry leader in PR tactics. So how was the UFC able to pull off this rapid increase in attention and revenue?

On May, 9th, 2020 The UFC hosted the first major United States sporting event since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. UFC President Dana White was unrelenting in his pursuit of bringing back sports during this global tragedy. He saw an opportunity with the lack of sports media during that time, and took advantage of the circumstances by continuing to host fight cards with extensive COVID protocols. As a result of this PR tactic, White and the UFC had the entire sports industry completely focused on their organization, as it was the only source of current sports media coverage.

White’s diligent efforts during the pandemic helped the UFC begin many major partnerships with Industry conglomerates. A few of the UFC’s current partners include: ESPN, Draft-Kings, Monster Energy, Modelo, and Harley-Davidson.

Although hosting events during a deficit in sports content was a huge factor in the organization’s industry growth, their PR strategies before and after this event are a major factor in what made their organization successful. The UFC has one of the best, if not most consistent PR teams in the industry, and their strengths shined during the pandemic, as they had the opportunity to not be outshined by larger sports organizations.

The UFC uses social media as one of their main PR tactics. Their Instagram has 28.9 million followers, their Twitter has 8.7 million followers, their Youtube has 12.3 million subscribers, and their Facebook has over 28 million page likes. So it’s safe to say that their social media has a pretty strong outreach.

The organization uses their social media to post content that advertises their fighters, upcoming fight cards, announcements, and incorporates advertisements into their content. They have an extremely consistent and engaging social media presence that effectively keeps fans coming back to their pages.

Arguably one of their most successful PR strategies is their utilization of “hype videos” for each fight card they are advertising. The purpose of these videos is to get fans excited enough about a fight card that they are willing to pay for it, especially in the cases of Pay-Per-View events.

The UFC targets their PR strategies to convince fans to invest in two financial avenues. First is to encourage fans to purchase an ESPN+ subscription. This subscription gives subscribers access to the weekly “Fight Night” cards for $6.99 a month. The second avenue is using their PR to encourage fans to purchase their Pay-Per-View events (having an ESPN+ subscription does provide a discount for these events, but you still need to pay a one time fee of $69.99).

Their PR tactics, and social media content to “hype” fights get fans so excited that they are willing to spend money to be able to watch different fighters each week. The promotion videos are not only fun and exciting to watch, they are extremely persuasive in convincing fans that this is a once in a lifetime event, and they can’t miss it. The use of their social media and “hype videos”, even before the pandemic, has allowed the organization to build its brand up to this point.

The UFC’s social media also allowed the organization to showcase the strengths of their event management team. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is not a sport like basketball, where teams have a season schedule that is predetermined months before they start playing. MMA matchmaking is ever changing, as schedules depend on injuries, weight-classes, wins/losses, championships, etc. Hosting an event during the pandemic was not an easy feat, but hosting weekly events, especially given the burden of constantly changing fighter schedules and availability, is even more unheard of. The UFC has been able to pull off incredible event management for years, the pandemic just gave them an opportunity to showcase their strengths with the sports industry’s full attention. They continue to set the standard for how effective and efficient organizations need to be with how they schedule and promote events.

Whether or not you believe the UFC hosting events during a global pandemic is ethical, the success of their PR strategies by finding opportunity during the rapid decline of sport content was business savvy. Their PR and event management teams had a chance to shine, and they definitely took full advantage of the opportunity.

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