A crisis could happen anytime and anywhere. It is an uneventful situation that nobody wants to be part of, which is why organizations who are prone to attract crisis should have a crisis communication plan. Examples of such are hospitals, schools, companies and organizations such as sports or athletics organizations. Why the dire need of such plan? Miscommunication, a tainted image and reputation and mistrust would be some of the after effects if such crisis are not handled properly. This is why planning for a crisis is the only logical thing to do if you do not want bigger problems to ensue. Read more about a sports crisis communication plan in our article below and to start creating one you may want to check out our free sports crisis communication plan samples as well.
8+ Sports Crisis Communication Plan Samples
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What Is a Sports Crisis Communication Plan?
Whenever something big or even a small issue happens within the sports community, the whole thing creates a ripple effect across media outlets and the fans. Why so? Sports, most especially popular ones such as US basketball, football and baseball, European Football clubs, tennis events and etc. have a large following and fan base. From individual players’ and managers’ personal and family scandals to clubs’ financial problems and organizational, structure issues, the industry has experienced unexpected events with high frequency that have attracted considerable attention.
Once something erupts it may send chaos and unwanted scrutiny if not properly handled by the right spokesperson or inadequate information is disseminated. Take note crisis often has lifespan as there are patterns of when they begin, worsen, plateau and return to normalcy. But the main point here is the damage has been done–if once again not handled properly. This is why sports organizations, teams or clubs should develop a sports crisis communication plan. Since this will function as a short guideline or contingency plan, should any crisis arise. It includes decisions like who to contact, what resources will be needed, and how and when to handle the media.
How To Develop a Sports Crisis Communication Plan?
Companies and organizations have different ways of handling and responding to crisis. As they either deny all accusations/crisis and refuse to any media or release any statements; or they do provide information but is insufficient and incomplete; or perhaps they would develop and sustain open and accurate communication channels with the environment and the press. The main point of all of these is that communication, in different forms, is an element of importance and can even be the tool that will interrupt the progression of a crisis to its next stage.
The plan is designed to be broad, but should help companies avoid making major decisions in actual moment. And those assigned to develop a crisis communication plan is the responsibility of a crisis management team. Creating such a team especially for organizations that are subject to all sorts of crisis is very important as they will be able to handle things as they have established beforehand. Here are several factors below that can help you develop a sports crisis communication plan:
I. Identify The Crisis
First, the research different crisis that may happen within the organization. Check on other similar crisis, learn and understand the cause and effect and how each crisis were handled. In this way you will be able to determine possible outcome, and create strategies and steps that can help counter if not learn how to handle these on your own once the crisis occur.
II. Roles and Responsibilities
It is imperative to determine and choose a good communicator as their actions will influence how your key stakeholders will react to the situation. If they can make your organization look human and your mistakes appear manageable, that will play a major role in maintaining stakeholder support.
III. Social Media Response
In this day and age, social media has become a fast growing communication channel and where most news and events are posted. The speed of online communication makes it more challenging for the crisis management team to get out in front of a story. The other problem these sites pose for organizations is that internal members can post information that reflects poorly on the company, creating or augmenting a crisis entirely on its own. So it is evitable to say that you will need to address your crisis online as well. Creating the right strategic approach with dealing with crisis online is a must, this may include assigning more reps to monitor your social channels or updating followers with new information.
IV. Proactive Crisis Communication
As mentioned having to plan in advance can be of great help to organization once a crisis occur. Even if we cannot predict such occurrence it is still crucial to anticipate such–as they say expect the unexpected. You must be able to determine what you do to reduce or prevent the effects of a crisis before it occurs and once it does you may immediately address these concerns to the media and public.
V. Reactive Crisis Communication
Now there are some instances when the level of sensitivity of the crisis would affect how you would deal with the media and the public. In these circumstances, releasing a statement too soon can do more harm than good. A reactive statement is the right choice when you know that there is a chance a negative story might break, but it has not yet happened. Now it is better to assess the level of which the crisis to be able to know how to deal with it accordingly.
Why Is a Crisis Communication Plan Important?
Generally, it is important to plan how to communicate with the media and public in an event of a crisis because it can act as a guide to help you quickly contain the crisis and recover from its impact. Whether it’s a weather disaster, a highly publicized lawsuit or a bad product review, your reaction should be immediate, focused and emphatic.
What Is a Crisis Management Team?
A crisis management team or CMT in short is a group of individuals tasked to manage events/crisis and ensure appropriate actions are carried out.
What Is a Crisis Intervention?
This is immediate and short-term emergency response to mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral distress.
Crisis management and image restoration take on a bigger role in today’s society, specifically in sports, due to the increased media coverage of athlete scandal and other relevant factors. This is why it is important to for a crisis management team to develop and design an effective sports crisis communication plan in order to lessen the blow and effects caused by such crisis.
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