On Live Sports and Media Training

There isn’t any other form of programming that provides as much live entertainment as sport. Sports programming makes up more opportunity for a live audience than any other type of program and has better ratings than any other type of programming occurring on a regular basis. And this is especially true during post-season types of events where there is more on the line for the teams participating as well as more focused attention from fans of other teams who might not otherwise watch the participating teams. Plus you’ve got the fence-sitters and others who only watch sports during the post-season for the drama and excitement that usually comes with these types of games. Take the Super Bowl for example – the most watch event of the year, every year.

Considering the amount of live sport already on the air and the demand for more live sports programming coming soon, as evidenced by the major television deals being signed by teams and leagues around the world, media training must be a greater part of the off-field training you provide your athletes and staff as well. If you don’t have someone on staff who knows how to do this, hire a professional and make it mandatory for every person who deals with the public to learn the basics of how to deal with the media and how to speak to a reporter.

I’m not an expert in this area, but I do watch and learn from every broadcast I have a chance to witness. The one rule I will express here is this:

– Never let the person you are interviewing take the microphone from the person holding the microphone

Never.

With a public audience, especially one on national television, you have to be able to take control of the message being broadcast for both legal purposes as well as for the purpose of moving things along, making sure they don’t get out of control. When you hand over the microphone to someone not emotionally or intellectually prepared to deal with that type of power, bad things can happen. And even if bad things don’t happen, it can get pretty awkward pretty quick.

So remember this one lesson at your next game and throughout the year…because its the one time you’re overwhelmed with things going on and you let your guest take the microphone and take your audience on a ride they weren’t expecting. In a world of instant internet access everywhere, those words will hit the digital airwaves in minutes and you’ll be all over the news. Don’t let bad news happen. Take control of the microphone.

I hope this lesson was helpful to you, let me know what you think in the comments.

Go Forth!

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