Date Approved

6-18-2004

Embargo Period

4-25-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations

Department

Public Relations & Advertising

College

College of Communication & Creative Arts

First Advisor

Fulginiti, Anthony

Subject(s)

Philadelphia Flyers (Hockey team)--Public relations

Disciplines

Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

The relationships between a professional sports team, its fans and media determine the fiduciary success of the team. The responsibility of developing and fostering this relationship falls to the team's public relations department.

The purpose of this study was to (a) determine the influence team performance has on the relationships between a sports team, its fans and media and (b) find ways to improve these vital relationships. In doing so, sports teams' public relations practitioners might better understand the relationships between their team and its key publics while maintaining these relationships during both winning and losing seasons.

To examine the relationships between a professional sports team, its fans and media, this researcher studied the Philadelphia Flyers' performance, its fans and media coverage throughout the 2003-04 regular hockey season. This researcher conducted intercept studies of 100 Flyers fans to understand their wants and needs after both winning and losing games, interviewed sports journalists to find ways to improve media relations and performed content analyses of Flyers media coverage to compare the quantity and quality of media coverage.

Findings indicate that team performance does not affect fan allegiance even though media coverage decreases as team performance suffers.

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