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Part 2: How PR companies have used strategies to counter sporting controversies

In my last blog, I looked back at how other PR companies would have used different strategies to resolve high profile sporting disputes following allegations of corruption against FIFA last week. Here are two more examples for you…

The New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, was caught up in one of the biggest ever NFL scandals, after his team was accused of tampering with the footballs before the game against Indianapolis Colts on January 18th, 2015. The official rules state that the balls must be inflated between 12.5 and 15.5 pounds of air pressure per square inch, however they appeared to be suspiciously under-inflated. As a result, Tom Brady held a 30 minute press conference a couple of days later denying any involvement. Unfortunately for the NFL star and his team, the league decided to ignore his claim and have given him a 4 match ban and have fined the Patriots $1 million dollars. According to recent reports, Brady’s agent and PR company have appealed, stating that the suspension was “ridiculous,” so I guess we’ll find out whether this strategy was the right approach.

Anyone remember what followed after Tiger Woods apologised in November, 2009? His world came crashing down around him after the golfing superstar was embroiled in a huge infidelity scandal. Understandably, events quickly escalated when a story leaked suggesting he had cheated on his wife at the time, Elin Nordegren, with a number of women (including porn stars). She was able to tell that he was up to no good, when she found messages on his phone between him and other women.

As a result, Woods and his team had to act swiftly, implementing his PR for individuals. He released a statement admitting “transgressions” and even announced a break from golf. This however led to a number of sponsors dropping him – Accenture, Gatorade, and General Motors all waved goodbye within a matter of hours. If you remember, there was once a time when Woods was expected to become the first sportsman to make a billion dollars – not after this calamity I’m afraid! Although, it was not an utter disaster, the apology helped to mitigate losses for Woods to a certain extent as he now earns $54.m in endorsements, which is half of what he once made pre-scandal. Perhaps more significantly, the 14 times major winner has not won a major tournament since.

Our Public Relation Agency, Essex, has years of experience working closely with clients to achieve the best possible results. As illustrated, some strategies work and others are less successful. If you would like advice on your PR for businesses, companies or individuals, please get in touch with us today.

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