Last week was a great example of the real-world experience students have the opportunity to gain in Full Sail’s Sports Marketing & Media program. In the span of just a few days, students were involved with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the PGA’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, and Major League Baseball’s Spring Training, among other events.
Through Full Sail’s relationship with the Central Florida Sports Commission, around 50 students worked as volunteers last Wednesday through Saturday during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games that were held at Orlando’s Amway Center. (Student volunteers also came from the Entertainment Business and Music Business programs.) According to Sports Events and Entertainment Course Director Kathryn Stuart, who helped organize the group, students worked in a various number of roles, including assisting the catering department, organizing volunteer check-in, and serving as locker room attendants and bench coordinators during team practices.
“I was a team bench coordinator on Wednesday, and it was so cool to be court side and get to watch each team practice,” says Sports Marketing & Media student Andrew Heinz. Bench coordinators were responsible for replenishing each team’s water and towel supply. “The entire experience was something that I’ll never forget.”
Another group of seven Sports Marketing & Media students worked in the Media & Communications Center during the NCAA Tournament. Sports Business Models Course Director George McNeilly – whose company McNeilly Communications was the official media liaison for the tournament’s local organizing committee – oversaw the team of students who worked as media runners, providing real-time game stats to journalists, operating the camera for press conference and interviews, and helping out wherever other media assistance was needed.
“We provided the local organizing committee with a social media strategy in support of our overarching communications strategy that helped sell out the arena,” says George. “I can’t wait to see these students grow in their careers. It’s going to be great to watch.”
Earlier last week, George also organized a trip for about 20 Sports Marketing & Media students to the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge. During the remote learning experience students heard presentations from PGA officials and other sports executives who discussed the logistics that go into hosting and covering a major golf tournament.
And on Friday, Sports Marketing & Media Program Director Josh Mora took 13 students – all within six months of graduation and with high GPS scores – to Bradenton, Florida, where they attended an informational session with executives from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, and Minor League Baseball organizations. Students had the chance to ask the executives questions and even got to stick around to watch a bit of a Spring Training game afterwards.
In addition, two student volunteers served as runners during last week’s NFL Owners’ Meetings and another student helped out at the Red Bull Tampa Pro 2014 skateboard competition.
“I know as I hear from them that it really helps put their classroom experiences and education in context, because they really get to see the application of it all,” says Josh. “What an amazing week that we could provide so many opportunities for so many different students.”