Did LeBron’s PR Team Drop the Ball?

I’m tight on time, so this is a quick one…

Yesterday, I discovered through an article on espn.com that LeBron James’ TV special “The Decision”—during which he’ll announce who he’ll play for next season—has a charity angle to it. Apparently, a big part of the decision to have a TV special was so that they could sell advertising to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of America.

As the article states it:

Sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that representatives for James contacted the network, proposing the idea of a dedicated special. The sources said James’ representatives requested they be allowed to sell sponsorship for the broadcast, and ESPN agreed.

“Due to the unprecedented attention and interest surrounding LeBron’s decision, we have decided to make this announcement on national television,” James’ business manager, Maverick Carter, said on lebronjames.com. “By doing so we have generated funds that will be given to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. LeBron has a longstanding commitment to giving back to the community, and has worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs in cities across the country.”

The problem is, not enough people seem to know this leading up to tonight’s TV special. The public is very much aware of the event but, without knowing about the charity piece and that motivation for doing the special, it just looks like LeBron needs his ego stroked and that a standard press conference isn’t good enough for him.

It seems LeBron’s PR team has a messaging problem. I’m not familiar with the press release they sent out promoting the event but, if it led with the charity angle, that part of their pitch is getting lost. And if they didn’t lead with the charity, they should have.

At this point, even if they promote the charity angle during the event, there are some people who will never become aware of that. They just heard LeBron is having a TV special to make his announcement about who he’ll play for next season, thought that sounded ridiculous and lost interest. Follow-up PR can be done to promote the Boys and Girls Club and how much money was raised, but it seems the charity part of the event could have been promoted much better from the start.