Sports management students reap the rewards of their Super Bowl internship experiences

The SUNY Fredonia group of 17 sports management students arrive in Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI, including (back row, from left): Antonio Reid, Josh Santacroce, Cody Starks, Zoe Blasak, Jimmy Doran, Jared Gleason, Alex Brizendine (in front of Gleason), Nate Wirth, Billy Major (in teal hat), Shelby Himes, Camryn Wilson and Kyle Mack; and (front row, from left): Jonah Rosas, AJ Kinney (seated), Nate Sage, Thomas Starks and Brian Goldstein.

“Bewitching”…”Incomparable”…”So Cool”

It’s hard to top the superlatives used by SUNY Fredonia Sport Management students to describe their Super Bowl internship experiences.

As crowds thronged SoFi Stadium, a $5 billion sports and entertainment complex, to finally see the Los Angeles Rams edge out the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, with more than 110 million viewers, 17 students who have majors or minors in sports management were to gain valuable experience in the sports industry through Super Bowl internships.

“The Super Bowl internship experience puts you right in the thick of the action at the nation’s biggest sporting event,” said college student Antonio Reid. “The organization required to make the Super Bowl go off without a hitch is fascinating. There are so many moving parts and so many jobs that are needed to create the great experience we see on TV. Being able to attend at the event is truly an experience that cannot be obtained anywhere else.

“The organization needed to make the Super Bowl go off without a hitch is fascinating. There are so many moving parts and so many jobs that are needed to create the great experience we see on television. Antonio Reid, ’22

There’s so much for students to learn and experience through a Super Bowl internship, echoed assistant professor of sports management Kerry Fischer. “They got to see how a sporting event is going, got a lot of behind-the-scenes experience, especially on match day. They got to see how the Super Bowl halftime show plays out – there are so many moving parts.

The Fredonia contingent – ​​a mix of seniors, juniors, sophomores and a freshman – worked Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Super Bowl Experience, the much-vaunted fan-centric attraction held in the Huge Los Angeles Convention Center. Organizing matches that fans played, assisting with crowd control, giving instructions, checking fans’ vaccination status and distributing home COVID-19 tests were among their duties.

“Our job was to improve the fan experience,” explained Dr. Fischer, one of two sports management faculty members who accompanied the students. This was the main mission that the NFL assigned to student interns.

On game day, the students upgraded to the SoFi Stadium service level, where the tunnels leading to the pitch are located. “They got to see the magic behind the scenes and get a better understanding of exactly what happens at an event that sports fans don’t think about,” Fischer said. “There was never a moment of depression; There’s always something going on.

Groups of student interns were assigned to slightly different tasks, reported Shelby Himes, a 21-year-old graduate from Frewsburg. Some performed sentry duties outside team locker rooms, ensuring only authorized personnel could enter, while others helped oversee the logistics of items that would be featured in the mid-show. time.

“My duties were to make sure all the dancers, speakers and some lights from the halftime show arrived on the field at the right time. And when it was time for them to come off, they went to the right direction and where they belonged,” Ms. Himes said.

“These are amazing things that we don’t see as a normal fan. It was so cool to see what goes on behind the scenes and what it takes to be able to put on such a big event. It really gave me a better understanding of how important time management is when things happen on such a timed schedule. Himes added.

“It (the Super Bowl experience) was a different experience from the game itself, but I think a lot of them gained a better appreciation for exactly how events play out,” Fischer explained.

One of the main takeaways from the internship for Mr. Reid, a Brooklyn senior, was an appreciation for the amount of preparation and time it takes to ensure everyone is safe and that the fans have a truly great experience. . It’s a must-have internship for students looking to work in the sports industry, as they’ll have the chance to rub shoulders with some of the most influential people in the world of sports, Reid noted.

“I believe this internship has given me an unparalleled experience,” explained Reid. “I also think this internship is something that grabs attention on resumes and could be a great talking point in interviews. This opportunity has helped me confirm internally that working in sports is definitely the path I want to follow in my career.

Reid, who also majors in psychology, would like to become a licensed sports psychologist who helps college or professional athletes deal with the daily pressures of being a top athlete in their sport, while maintaining a lifestyle. balance. “I want to motivate athletes to maximize their own potential and block out all the unnecessary obstacles that come with working out.”

The internship helped Himes conclude that she wanted to work in event planning or social media in the sports industry, ideally with the National Football League, Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League.

“It also allowed me to connect with several people on LinkedIn who work in different areas of the sports industry. They were also able to give me advice and talk to me about how I should go about applying for the jobs in the sports industry,” Himes said.

“Most of the people I met and bonded with were women, so it gave me hope that I might get there one day,” she added.

While SUNY Fredonia students enjoyed interacting with fans and other student volunteers, they also made potential industry connections, Fischer said, which is a central goal of Super Bowl internships. “It’s a unique experience for most of them.”

This is the eighth time SUNY Fredonia has hosted a Super Bowl internship experience, and Los Angeles represents the most distance traveled by a sports management contingent, Fischer said. “I didn’t expect there to be so many students because it was so far away.”

It was also the first time student interns were paid by the host Super Bowl committee. Students also received an assortment of Super Bowl goodies including black uniforms and black caps worn on game day, red shirts for the Super Bowl experience, black long-sleeved jackets and backpacks – all featuring the Super Bowl logo.

Fischer looks forward to SUNY Fredonia students interning at the 2023 Super Bowl.

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