nine-day experience in Tampa culminated at the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Sport Management Experiential Learning Trip Culminates at Football National Championship

January 10, 2017

Sport management majors in Rays dugoutA group of 40 BW students, faculty, staff and alumni capped off an amazing, nine-day experiential learning adventure in Tampa, Fla. at the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship game last night.

The sport management majors gained invaluable event management experience at the National D-1 Championship and, earlier in the trip, the Outback Bowl and Florida Cup soccer tournament.

BW Grad Opens the Door

A Yellow Jacket sport management alumnus opened the door to the applied learning opportunity. Evan Helgesen '10, an event manager for the Gulf Coast-based Sentry Event Services, reached out to faculty in the BW sport management program in the fall.

"I knew about the Super Bowl experiences the program had done the past several years," said Helgesen, who previously worked with the Cleveland Indians and Browns. "So I pitched the idea to my boss first and he loved it. He liked the idea of having knowledgeable students with major event experience coming down to help us out."

Jam-Packed Itinerary

Sport management majors at Lightning gameIn addition to working the three major sporting events, students also helped staff the ESPN College Football Playoff Championship Fan Central, major pre-game concerts and the ESPN College Football Playoff Championship Beach Bash.

During the Florida Cup, Front Office Sports allowed sport management majors Joe Freeman and Ryan Swingle to take over the organization's SnapChat social media channel. “It was a great experience,” said Freeman. “I’d love to do social media management for a professional or collegiate sports organization and this provided me an opportunity to showcase my skills.”

Behind the Scenes and on TV

Opportunities to tour a number of major sporting venues and meet with front office and athletic staff were also on the jam-packed itinerary. Site visits included the Tampa Bay Rays' Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay Buccaneers training facility, McKechnie Stadium (spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) and IMG Academy. The group also attended a Tampa Bay Lightning Game and met with team staff, and enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look at the University of South Florida Athletic Department courtesy of athletic department staff there.

Sport management majors on Bay News 9The BW students and their distinctive learning experience even caught the eye of Tampa's "Bay News 9" TV which featured them in a news report. 

Many more details and photos of the trip are available on the new BW HPESS blog for BW's School of Health, Physical Education and Sport Sciences.

Next Up: Super Bowl LI

Next month, students in the BW sport management program, which places a heavy emphasis on experiential learning, will be heading off to work Super Bowl LI in Houston.

"These are great opportunities for our students," said James Mattern, assistant professor of sport management. "We've have some students who within a 12-month span will be able to add Super Bowl 50, Game 7 of the World Series, the College Football Playoff Championship, and Super Bowl LI to their resumes. Those are some impressive and memorable events that will separate those students' resumes from the pack."

 Sport management majors on game day