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Public relations in sport: a case study on the South African Hockey Association with a focus on social media in public relations strategies.

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The South African Hockey Association (SAHA) is tasked with the responsibility of the management and functionality of indoor and outdoor hockey in South Africa. This includes the administration, development and coordination of all activities of the game in areas such as coaching, umpiring and playing whether at International, Provincial, Club or School level. SAHA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the Africa Hockey Federation (AHF) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH). SAHA organises annual Inter Provincial Tournaments (IPTs) for the four age groups (U13, U16, U18 and open) for both males and females as well as liaising with other international hockey federations and governing bodies to partake in various international test series and tournaments such as World Cups, Commonwealth Games and The Olympics (South African Hockey Association, 2012). As with many other organisations, SAHA has in recent years adopted social media platforms to communicate with their stakeholders after having a website established for several years prior. Although SAHA is the governing body for all hockey in South Africa, this research will focus on the Men’s and Women’s National Teams and how the publicity is managed for these two teams. The social media platforms that are currently used by South African Men’s and Women’s teams are Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This research will therefore focus on the content, management and connections that are facilitated by The SAHA website, the three Twitter pages (SA_Hockey, SA_Hockey_Men, and sawomenshockey), the two Instagram pages (sa_hockey_men and sawhockey) and the two Facebook pages (SA Hockey Men and SA Womens Hockey Team). This usage of social media offers a research opportunity that will assist organisations such as SAHA to utilise social media to its advantage with regards to public relations. Even though there is a significant rise in the interest of research in social media for corporate use, there is very little notable research specifically dealing with the use of social media for public relations activities in the sporting sector. This research uses a range of theories and related studies on public relations in various fields in order to develop a viable framework that can enhance the public relation efforts for The South African Hockey Association so that they can optimise social media to ensure maximum engagement with followers.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.