By Grant Vance | Courtesy photos
The world of sports familiarized as a medium where icons are idolized. Prolific characters taking roles as the face of any given team, for any given sport is far from a rarity – especially when it comes to soccer.
There are, of course, the David Beckhams and Lionel Messis, Peles and Ronaldos, but that’s old news. Players are obviously an important component to any team, but the true hidden hero is the voice of a team, the man or woman behind the curtains acting as a middle-agent between team and fans, keeping an open dialogue between the two entities.
For Louisville City FC, this cloaked agent of dialogue is Jonathan Lintner.
Lintner is the young, professional team’s media director and has directed their public relations for “a little over a year now,” he said.
His relationship with the team, however, stretches much further than that.
“I’ve been writing about Louisville City FC since before Louisville City FC was a thing,” Lintner said. “I wrote the article for The Courier-Journal that first announced Louisville FC was going to be called Louisville FC. … Those sorts of things are pretty cool now,” Lintner said.
Lintner studied journalism at Western Kentucky, joining a paper in Evansville upon his graduation.
“(I) worked for about a year at the newspaper in Evansville and wanted to come home (to Louisville), so I got a job at The Courier Journal,” he said.
Lintner worked at the newspaper for three years where he gained a host of experience. “It culminated into (me) being the lead person on the Kentucky Derby for the 2016 Derby,” Lintner said.
“Somewhere along there … I saw this thing on the internet about the Louisville Coopers and this ownership group from this team called Orlando FC that I had never heard of was coming here and they were basically trying to give Louisville a franchise, which seemed pretty wacky at the time.”
In retrospect, professional soccer in Louisville was, at first, a wacky idea. Luckily, the wacky nature of the team has passed, garnering a large fan base and following. But with a following comes a desire to interact with and know more about the team you are rooting for.
As Kevin Costner (sort of ) puts it in Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will want to message you on Twitter about things.”
That’s where Lintner enters the pitch.
“You know they call PR ‘The Dark Side of Journalism’ … but really I’m promoting the team,” Lintner said. “I feel like we have a cool thing here that people are into, so that makes the job easier. People ask what I do, and I never really get anywhere until I tell them ‘I run the Twitter account,’ ” he laughed.
Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the myriad of social media that’s evolved as a means of communication is important in the modern world, but it is not all about the “likes,” as the kids say. Despite Lintner’s trademark “crack a joke and winky-face emoji” tactic for when he is not able to reveal a specific update, oftentimes the job is a much more demanding in an age where information is flying faster than 700 speeding bullets.
“The nightmare is something getting out that isn’t true, because people kind of go with their first impression and that’s what sticks with them,” Lintner said.
One example is the debunked rumors of potentially building the new stadium, now officially announced for Butchertown, in New Albany.
“There are just so many things that go around social media that aren’t true,” Lintner said. “People always say with PR that you’re spinning something, but given my background, our releases look more like news stories. … You have to give the facts of the situation and let people make of it what they want. I’d rather them come up with their own opinions and own stances than us try and force feed them something.”