Desmarais, F. & Bruce, T. (2008). Blurring the boundaries of sports public relations: National stereotypes as sport announcers’ public relations tools. Public Relations Review, 34(2), 183-191.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/1832
Live media coverage is a key element of the relationship between a sport and its publics. The role of television producers, including announcers, is to connect effectively with the public, creating an entertaining and engaging package that keeps viewers watching. In considering this as an aspect of public relations, this paper explores how national stereotypes function to present a consistent and easily interpretable set of messages that capture publics by reinforcing their existing understandings and by providing resources for enhancing the drama and uncertainty that is such a desirable aspect of the sport audience experience. Mapping the elements of the stereotype of Frenchness in rugby union as a case study, our analysis is based on interviews with well-known French and New Zealand rugby union announcers and analyses of a decade of broadcasts of France versus New Zealand tests. We conclude that the use of stereotypes, based on the creation of differences between national teams, can be conceived of as an effective form of public relations which heightens interest and reinforces patriotic subject positions for viewers and therefore mobilises a national public.
This is an author’s version of an article published in the journal: Public Relations Review. © 2008 Elsevier Inc.