By Josh Duke | February 7, 2019 | Posted in: Blog
Every year, millions of people tune in to the Super Bowl, but few get to experience professional football’s big game in person. For students in Florida State’s Sport Management program, the Super Bowl provided more excitement than anyone watching from home could imagine. They got a taste of what they could potentially experience after graduation and hands-on experience in one of the coolest networking opportunities of the year.
Florida State’s Sport Management program is one of the few programs invited to participate in the Super Bowl. “Being able to participate in arguably the largest sporting event, and see it come to fruition, was truly a unique experience,” says Dillan Jeffries, a Sport Management master’s student who participated in the experience. “It was amazing to see the amount of dedication and teamwork needed for an event that only lasts a little over an hour.”
Experiences like this—and like the trip to the College Football Playoffs in January and the upcoming trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four in April—are organized by faculty members like Jason Pappas who give our sport management students a world-class education. These events and people have also helped propel the FSU Sport Management program to the number one spot in the country.
The Florida State students had a packed schedule and hit the ground running the moment they got to Atlanta. On the first day, the students got to meet with officials from the Atlanta Braves baseball team. After enjoying a VIP tour of SunTrust Park, they learned about the behind-the-scenes operations of the Braves. Before they ended their day, the students picked up their gear from Team ATL, part of the host committee for the Super Bowl.
On day two, students met with representatives from the Atlanta Hawks, where they participated in a Q&A and networking session. At this point, the group divided into two teams. The first team started a shift working at Team ATL events. Students volunteered at a number of free events that took place around Mercedes-Benz Stadium, all designed to encourage fan participation and drum up excitement for the big game.
On day three, students got to work with On Location Experiences, an NFL-partnered company that specializes in events and event production. Before starting their shift, Florida State students were treated to a special training session from a Disney representative. During this session, they learned tips about hospitality and how to improve the overall fan experience.
The next day, the second team of Florida State students worked a Team ATL shift, but everyone’s attention was fixed on the main event less than 24 hours away, when the New England Patriots would square off against the Los Angeles Rams.
While the game itself proved to be relatively uneventful as far as Super Bowls go, Florida State’s Sport Management students gained invaluable experience, learning the ins and outs of working one of the world’s biggest entertainment events. As part of the experience, students participated in helping visitors find what they were looking for, worked private events throughout the stadium, and represented the host committee and its commitment to excellent customer service.
The game ended up not being the most memorable, but for these Florida State students, the experience is one they will reflect on throughout their careers. “This trip and opportunity were nothing short of amazing, and to say it was impactful would be an understatement,” says Sharad Saddlers, another Sport Management master’s student who participated on the trip. “Having the opportunity to meet in person, putting a face to my resume, and connecting on LinkedIn after speaking with them is an advantage I’ll take full use of as I ascend through my career.”
“This experience helped me to see where I’m headed, the amount of work it’s going to take to get there, and the type of work environments that await me post-graduation. I couldn’t be any more prepared and fired up about it!”
Have an interest in sport management? Want to learn more about the unique experiences FSU’s Sport Management program offers? Learn more about the Sport Management program at Florida State today.