After doing a little research on public relations departments across the world of sport, we zeroed in on the Dallas Mavericks. The reason being: they seem to genuinely care about media needs. Plus, we are Shark Tank fans and of course, their owner is Mark Cuban 😄. Laura Sorto’s official title is Basketball Communications Apprentice. In other words, Laura is the seasonal public relations intern for the basketball operations communications department.
What this means is that she’s at every shoot-around and practice to help with media availability. Also, she assists with game notes, updating stats before and after games, facilitating interviews, and working game nights. Cool right?
We chatted with Laura Sorto and asked specific questions about her career in sport public relations. We can’t wait to share the path Laura has paved to get into the sport industry.
Tell us about your role with the Mavs.
Sure. My current title is Basketball Communications Apprentice which essentially means I’m the seasonal public relations intern for the basketball operations communications department. I started in September of last year but am transitioning into a different role now.
During the season I helped with the day to day operations so that meant being at every shootaround and practice to help with media availability, helping out with game notes, updating stats before and after games, facilitating interviews, and working game nights.
You went to the University of Texas. Can you tell us how your education helped in your path towards a career in sport public relations?
Yes, so I actually graduated from two programs, one degree was a bachelor of science in advertising and my minor was in sports media and the second was a bachelors of science in kinesiology in physical culture in sports.
I’d say it helped a lot, especially with introducing media relations in sports to me, but I’d say that my internship within the athletics communications department at Texas was actually what got I am now.
Can you give specific examples of how what you learned in school has helped you at the workplace?
Of course, I’d say that I just got a better understanding of what an SID (sports information director) does in athletic communications and what public relations/communications professionals do on a day to day basis.
Everything I learned from being a student assistant was essential to what I do now with the Mavs. All media relations roles are basically the same, the only difference was that the Mavs role was specific to basketball whereas at UT I worked with every varsity sport.
But it’s crucial to get experience while in college, especially if you’re serious about breaking into sports PR world after college.
Tell us about your passion for sport.
I’d say I’m a sports “fan” and have always enjoyed watching and following sports but I was never really interested in pursuing a career in it until I found out about sports PR in a class. It somehow seemed to be a perfect fit, a mix between communications and sports.
I’ve always wanted to work in communications, so I’d say that I somehow found sports along the way.
I actually grew up in the Dallas area so growing up I was a huge fan of the Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys and even the Texas Longhorns. I’m just one of the lucky few that somehow has the opportunity to work at their childhood NBA team so it was a bit harder to stay professional during certain games haha.
What’s the hardest part about working in public relations at the Dallas Mavericks and how do you balance work-life?
I love those two questions because I’d say that the hardest part, especially during the season, is balancing our life outside of work. It’s not a normal 9-5 job where we go in and leave at a certain time because we work around the “basketball” schedule. I’d say the balance comes in after the season (like right now). Without any games to get ready for until September, I have a much more relaxed schedule.
We have all definitely sacrificed time with family and friends, weekends and holidays, but at the end of the day, it’s a very very fun job and worth it in the end.
An education in Sport Management isn’t the only path you can take to establish a career in the sport industry. Laura is a great example of someone who took a different path.
Laura’s role with the Dallas Mavericks as Basketball Communications Apprentice begins her career in sport. In a few months, check media guides of professional teams across North America and you may happen to see Laura Sorto on it.