Tony Wyllie ’07, Houston Texans Vice President of Communications, and Janess Sayle ‘04, Texans Foundation Manager, visited the SMGT 466 (Media Relations) class this afternoon to discuss the Texans’ community outreach programs and the importance for a sports organization of maintaining a relationship with the community at large.
Wyllie stressed that a team must treat its relationship with its hometown as an obligation of privilege rather than a chore. He added that this was best exemplified by the Texans’ response to the Houston area’s needs in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.
“Whenever there’s a need in the city,” he said, “the Texans have a responsibility to step up and help.”
Sayle went on to describe the Texans’ community relations efforts. She told the class that the Texans Foundation had to find new measurements for success, because it does not bring in revenue for the organization. The most visible of these is its fundraising. The foundation raised over $400,000 in 2008, from sources including the Texans Golf Classic, silent auctions, and major prize raffles.
She also described the beneficiaries of the foundation, including the Texans’ primary partners, the Texans YMCA and the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of Houston. Other beneficiaries include Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and various foundations run by individual players. Sayle said that the players enjoy giving back to the Houston community.
“The players want to go out in the community and help out,” she told the class. “They have just one day off a week and they spend it by going out and doing good works.”
Wyllie, a graduate of Texas Southern and Rice’s MBA program, has worked in the NFL since 1991. He has held top-level positions since 1998, and has been with the Texans since the team’s inception in 2000. Under Wyllie, the Texans’ public relations department has won two Pete Rozelle awards, in 2004 and 2007. He also won the award twice while with the Tennessee Oilers/Titans, in 1997 and 2000. In addition to the Texans and Titans, Wyllie has worked with the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, and San Diego Chargers.
Sayle is a 2004 graduate of Rice University and holds a law degree from the University of Houston. She is in her first year with the Texans.
Joe Dreyfuss is a senior Sport Management major.