APU Business Original Sports

Super Bowl LVII and Why Quality Internships Are Important

As part of my new role as Internship Coordinator for the University’s sports management and esports programs, I recently traveled to Glendale, Arizona, to be a part of the Super Bowl LVII experience. Although no students were able to join me due to a shorter-than-expected window of opportunity, I was able to network and add quality contacts to my portfolio for future event placements.

Collectively, our sports management faculty members feel that using our contacts to help students secure quality internships and practicums is what will make our programs unique, as compared to the hundreds of other sports management programs across the country.

This Year’s Super Bowl Experience Involved Working in Media Relations

Prior to my arrival at this year’s Super Bowl, I expected to work security and event operations. But due to a few unexpected changes, I ended up working in media relations. Specifically, I interviewed fans on camera to learn about their Super Bowl experiences.

Changes are not a surprise occurrence at sporting events. One of the attractive aspects of working sporting events is the unpredictability of each one.

Rarely are any two sporting events the same, even if they are in the same sport such as football. Every sporting event typically has unique characteristics and challenges associated with it, and Super Bowl LVII was no different.

Sporting event staff must have the ability to perform a wide variety of tasks as needed as an event progresses. I felt fortunate to be able to contribute to Super Bowl LVII, even though it was working in a different area than I expected.

Unfortunately, I was a little rusty since I hadn’t performed media relations tasks in quite some time since promoting my last strongman contest more than 15 years ago.

I was quickly reminded how difficult interviewing sports fans can be. To capture enough useful video for a media relations team to use online, it is common to conduct twice as many interviews than needed.

Media professionals attempt to select candidates they perceive will perform best on camera for a variety of reasons. For example, it is necessary to select a diverse group of fans for interviews. Also, some fans aren’t articulate on camera, several end up using inappropriate references or language, and the responses of others don’t end up fitting into the narrative of the interview theme.

However, we were able to create enough content to share on our new sports management social media platforms on Instagram® and LinkedIn®, which launched in February. Overall, the trip to the Phoenix area was a great experience and well worth the investment. We are looking forward to working at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas next February.

Related link: Major League Baseball Is Making Rule Changes for 2023

The Importance of Quality Internships in the Sports Industry

Internships can be a good way to improve one’s knowledge and develop a network of contacts. Networking is extremely important in sports since the industry involves a relatively small circle of people. That’s why the faculty members of our program work so hard to assist students in making useful contacts.

Related link: Cities, Taxpayers and the Financing of Pro Sports Stadiums

Next Steps for Our Sports Management Faculty

In addition to creating an internship program and building relationships with individual internship sites around the country as a part of our new initiative, we plan to attend four to five high-profile events per year at a variety of strategic locations. These locations were chosen based upon high concentrations of current students and alumni.

A recent graduate of our master of science program in sports management just completed a field experience working at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in Houston, Texas. This student stated:

“I’m sincerely grateful for the opportunity to gain practical experience at the 2023 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston. The best way to describe my time here so far has been expansive.

“I have worked with a variety of staff so far including the security team, the exterior arena team, and the sponsorship and signage team. Currently, I’ve been working with the game management staff to ensure that ticketing and seating allocations are 100% accurate.

“Most exciting of all, I have had an opportunity to ask a lot of questions and learn directly from many senior administrators. I’m enjoying my time here and am learning as much as possible.”

The next event this year for students and alumni to gain real-world experience is the 2023 Professional Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, which will be held August 3-6. We expect to have eight to 12 students and alumni participating in this event and are still in the planning stages regarding other events.

However, looking forward, we will have current University students, alumni and a group of faculty members working at the 2028 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Most have committed to work the entire two-week period of the Olympic Games or at the Paralympic Games that will follow the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Over time, we believe our new internship program will allow us to assist in placing many students into field experience opportunities. We also hope that the knowledge gained from these internships will prove beneficial should those students seek professional opportunities in the sports industry.

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Dr. Jim Reese is an associate professor and internship coordinator for the sports management program at the University. He holds a B.A. in business and economics from St. Andrews University, a M.S. in sports management from Georgia Southern University, and an Ed.D. in sport administration from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition, Jim is a former NCAA Division III baseball player. He also has practical experience in a variety of levels in the sports industry, including youth, interscholastic, intercollegiate, professional and international and has been placing students into the sports industry for more than 23 years.

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