Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program Graduate Students Intern at Super Bowl LV
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (February 3, 2021) -- Having the Super Bowl in Tampa is bittersweet. Sweet because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing for the championship in their home stadium, bitter because COVID-19 means there only will be 25,000 fans in the stands cheering on the team.
But for a group of graduate students in the Muma College of Business’ Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program, the experience is beyond sweet. There is nothing bitter for the nearly two dozen students landing internships working the game and all the surrounding NFL activities.
Cameron Lynch, who will seek a full time position in marketing and communications at a sports team or major media network after graduation in 2022, is interning as an NFL player marketing and communications specialist for the Super Bowl Host Committee.
“This is a dream come true,” he said. “Getting this on the résumé is a big boost because it will show versatility and the ability to manage different tasks at once.”
“The vast majority of our students are working across all of the Super Bowl festivities,” said Michelle Harrolle, director of the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program. “All of them went through an interview process and background checks with our Tampa Bay partners, such as the Super Bowl Host Committee.”
Blake Parry is looking to work in digital marketing/content strategy for a professional sports team upon graduation in 2022. At the Super Bowl, he is an NFL Experience manager, supervising paid and volunteer staff and handling customer relations.
“Being able to work in a leadership role surrounding the Super Bowl is incredible,” he said. “I think that being able to take on responsibilities for an event like this will go a very long way in translating into a future job.
“Saying we worked on a Super Bowl, especially during COVID-19, is going to be huge on our résumés.”
Harrolle said the interns’ level of excitement about being a part of Super Bowl LV is immeasurable.
“The opportunity to work the Super Bowl is a dream come true for many of our students. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. “When you add in a pandemic, this Super Bowl experience is historic and an even more unique hands-on work experience.”
Sean Kennedy plans to be a game presentation coordinator with a professional sports team when he graduates next year. He job at the Super Bowl: mobile ticket box office agent.
“It is paramount to me to be able to work this once-in-a-lifetime game,” he said. “I think this shows that I am willing to take any opportunity that comes by. Working a massive game like this speaks for itself.”
Tim Miles is looking forward to graduation in 2022. This week he is a Super Bowl area manager.
“A chance to work the Super Bowl will provide me with a great fan-relation experience and give me an opportunity to manage others in such a setting,” he said. “This opportunity will enhance my leadership, communication and professionalism skills, which I will carry with me to future job opportunities.”
“Having a work experience at the Super Bowl is a major accomplishment on a student's résumé,” Harrolle said. “We are fortunate, as very few sporting events are being produced with fans and volunteers right now across the United States.
“I look forward to having students come back in years to come,” she said, “to speak about this amazing experience with future students.”
Autumnsarah Foster-Pagett is graduating this year with the hope of getting a job at an agency, partnership, brand or team. For the Super Bowl, she works as a Tampa Bay Yacht Village concierge.
“It is an incredible opportunity for me to work this particular event amid a pandemic,” she said. “It reminds me how sports always brings people together.”
Getting ready for a position in sales for a professional or collegiate sports team when he graduates this year, Preston Heeren this week is working the Super Bowl Experience in Curtis Hixon Park.
“I have gone to these events as a fan, but never in my life did I think I would one day be working for the Super Bowl,” he said. “The prestige of working on a Super Bowl speaks for itself. Having this on my résumé is one, very cool, and two, can lead to some great conversations.”
Sarah Linebaugh, who graduates in 2022, hopes, one day, to be an intercollegiate athletic director. At the Super Bowl, she is working with a public relations firm as a media associate and with the Super Bowl Host Committee as a community ambassador and concourse captain.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “How many students can say they worked a Super Bowl especially during a pandemic? I am so fortunate and grateful for all the opportunities.
“There are so many translatable skills that I will learn and that I can carry with me to future internships or employment opportunities.”