KC Chiefs Embracing Media Guides and Technology

Ted Crews gets the message out with mobile, web…and paper?

Ted Crews, VP of Communications for the Kansas City Chiefs, discusses the current state of media relations using mobile as the primary communication tool.

Q - What do you see is the future of using mobile apps to communicate with your audience?

A - I remember back in 2008, Derek Boyko with the Philadelphia Eagles stood up at an NFL league meeting and announced to the group that the Eagles were not going to print a media guide from that day forward. That was a big moment. I was at that meeting and remember thinking ”That was awesome!”. I wasn’t running a department at that point, but when I got to St. Louis in 2009, we got in touch with Studio Tiga and started the process. It didn’t make any sense to print something that will be useless in the matter of hours, especially since mobile devices at that point were starting to take off and we could provide quick, accurate information digitally. The Studio Tiga version allows that.

You guys (Studio Tiga) are intent on working with us each year to make it better and we truly appreciate it. Change is happening and might as well embrace that change. The solution helps the media and writers present accurate information, helping keep EVERYONE out of trouble.

Q - How has newer trends in technology impacted your need for printed materials? Specifically in converting from a printed media guide to a mobile/web version. Can you quantify your cost savings? 

A - The problem is that as soon as you print anything, it is obsolete. Stats are fluid and every game is different. Creating these guides digitally allows us to be more accurate and when there are errors, we can make changes by the minute instead of waiting days to reformat and reprint the guides. There is always human error and we are not perfect, but digital certainly helps us to be more accurate, effective, efficient and timely.

Q - How much printed material do you still produce for each game?

A - I have been doing this for over 16 years and when I started, it was always about the media guide and the game day notes getting printed or photo copied. Now, printed material is almost obsolete. I am a believer in trying to go as much with digital as possible. You can update it daily, weekly and as often as you want. However, we still do a printed version of our game day card and game day notes for the press box and we just installed a computer in our media work room that shows what the daily schedule is. This is how our business is going, it is the future and at this point, our printed material is a very minimal part of our operations.

Q - What types of demands are the media putting on you as far as delivery of franchise and player information?

A - Media outlets have a 24 hour news cycle constantly looking for minute-by-minute roster information, access to the team’s president, players and executive staff and general marketing and community relations information. (Ted Laughs) Especially during the season, this information non-stop; required daily, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, sometimes down to the minute. All external questions and requests come through us no matter which department they are headed towards. It is a riveting process to say the least.

Q - What is the reaction from the media in regards to your media guides?

A - Change is change and if it was easy, people would do it all the time. You have to work through it with some folks and some are more open than others. Some resist and it is our job to help educate and inform them on how change makes their jobs easier. Once they realize it makes the info we provide more timely and accurate––ultimately making their lives easier––they tend to run with it.  It is a mixed bag of the new and old school media folks that every media relations staff member is dealing with.

Q - What do you see is the most prominent trends for media relations in the NFL right now?  

A - There are really two BIG things that I see as the main trends in media relations.

The first is that Everything is going digital. Information feeds run 24 hours and access is needed immediately. You really have to be on top of your game. It is all happening right now and if you don’t respond accordingly, you are already too late.

Training players for media relations. You have to make the players understand the general public, the media and how people consume information. You are not talking to your friends, but the greater community and have to be aware of the issues and educate people about what the Chiefs organization is all about.

We “media train” every player and cheerleader. Every NFL team does this in their own way and style. It is a fluid process. Prior to the beginning of the season I have the opportunity to address the entire team. Throughout the season I will try and address the same folks one-on-one to re-enforce the message. This is the state of media relations today. This is how NFL organizations handle media and it is a collective effort.

Q - How quickly were you able to implement the Interactive Media Guide (IMG) into your daily operations?

A - The process itself from first point of contact to having a working version takes a couple of months. Once you have the IMG, you get the hang of working with it very quickly. It is like getting a new cell phone. You play with it for a little while, and then you get comfortable with it. It is always there. We leave it up on our computers and reference it daily, just like it is a book. Granted it takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.

Q - Where are you today after implementing the new Media Guides?

A - Well, we gain the opportunity to embrace a new technology that allows us to deliver superior information. It was a challenge to our department to move from a printed media guide to an online version but it broadened our comfort zone and in the end, the message speaks for itself.

On the losing side, not everybody adapts right away. Not just the media, but folks within the Chiefs organization. You have to bring them along. You are going to have some glitches and some push back and sometimes that is just the cost of doing business. It is a process and it gets better each day. The great part is having people such as Studio Tiga and both internal and advocates as part of your team. You work together to reach a common goal and it works.  In the end, the hassles are just a small price to pay for the efficiency you gain on the backend.

Want more information? Contact us!

Click images to enlarge



About Ted Crews:

Ted Crews, Vice President of Communications for the Kanas City Chief’s spent the last 15 years working with four different NFL franchises including the Kansas City Chief’s, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. During his prior three seasons, Ted served as Senior Director of Communications for the St. Louis Rams, leading as the primary contact for the owner, general manager and head coach, in addition to serving as the team’s official spokesperson.

During Ted’s time managing communication efforts during the Rams’ ownership transition from the Rosenbloom family to Stan Kroenke during the 2010 season. Ted’s work with the NFL League Office and media affiliates resulted in his staff receiving a nomination for the prestigious 2010 Pete Rozelle Award which is presented annually by the Pro Football Writers of America to the league’s top public relations department.

Ted’s career has been further embellished by being selected by the NFL to work at the Super Bowl for three consecutive years and for the Pro Bowl five separate times, coordinating all media and public relations efforts for the NFC team.

About Studio Tiga
Founded in 2004, Southern California-based Studio Tiga develops and delivers advanced cost-effective, cross-platform apps for mobile devices and provides interactive media services for professional sports teams and corporate entities.

Contact: Dan Williams
Phone: 714-349-3790
Email: clients@studiotiga.com

Click to learn more about Studio Tiga


Other Studio Tiga Projects:

Miami Dolphins Project

Dallas Stars Project

Columbus Blue Jackets Project