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Student Spotlight: Sam Hoo Helps Lightning Boost Student Rush Ticket Program


student spotlight hoo

By Elizabeth L. Brown

TAMPA (December 3, 2021) – When it comes to landing a prime fellowship that gives you real-world experience in your field of study, Sam Hoo hit the jackpot.

As a graduate student in her final year in the Vinik Sport and Entertainment Management program, Hoo is interning with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s marketing team in marketing and data analytics. Not only has her time with the championship hockey team and their marketing professionals been a dream job but it’s also been a dream assignment.

She is helping the Lightning re-establish its Student Rush initiative, an incentive program that allows high school and college students to buy same-day home game tickets at a discount. The Student Rush tickets are available at 10 a.m. on game days for $20.

The long-standing program is back for the 2021-2022 season after a two-year pandemic hiatus. And not many students know the once-popular program has returned.

“We want to see it succeed again,” said Hoo, who is working with fellow USF student Blake Parry, who is also in the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program.

She and Parry are long-time Bolts fans and as high schoolers used to buy Student Rush tickets to attend home hockey games and are familiar with the program from the student side.

“We want to help bring it back because it was something that Blake and I enjoyed,” she said.

Hoo said she was drawn to USF’s Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program after minoring in sport business management at the University of Central Florida. The dual-degree program allows students to earn an MBA with a concentration in sport business in the first year. In the second year, students earn a master’s degree in sport and entertainment management and work on a project in a fellowship.

Hoo said she’s always been a fan of sports, data analytics, marketing, and sports management.

A previous sports marketing internship sparked her interest in the field. Hoo interned with the UCF sports marketing department in 2017 during the year the college football team was undefeated and won the national championship.

“Seeing all the work that went into marketing for that and how that made people talk about UCF, I thought being a part of the marketing team was cool. I thought it was amazing and I wanted to keep doing it,” she said.

As part of her fellowship with the Lightning, she can put her stamp on the Student Rush program. And it’s an untapped market where data analytics and marketing could help the program explode.

So far, she’s been gathering demographic data by surveying young fans at Lightning games to evaluate the strengths and to pinpoint possible expansion areas for the youth hockey market. Ultimately, she will make recommendations on ways to grow the youth market for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Student Rush.

“I like that that’s what people think of when they think of the brand,” she said. “Whatever brand it is, you have a part in putting that in people’s minds. With the lightning, it’s kind of the same thing. You get to be the face that people see or help portray that face.”