BGSU sport management students support Super Bowl gameday operations, events

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – A group of Bowling Green State University sport management students recently traveled to Las Vegas to support the Super Bowl’s gameday operations, events and more, gaining real-world experience in a career field they plan to enter upon graduation.

Accompanied by two faculty members, 28 students from the BGSU Sport Management Alliance were on site throughout the week leading up to the big game to assist with fan experience activities, logistics and gameday operations, experiencing all that goes into planning a large-scale event.

Reilly Herold, a junior from Worthington, Ohio, and the incoming president of SMA, said the experience of going to the Super Bowl was unforgettable.

“It is truly the opportunity of a lifetime for all of the students involved,” Herold said. “To go and see what our possible future career could look like is unbelievable. I know a lot of students were saying while we were there that they couldn’t wait for this to be a regular thing for us.”

SMA students fundraised and secured sponsorships to help send them to Las Vegas, where they worked the Super Bowl Experience, a theme-park-like event held in the host city every year that offers fans the chance to meet NFL players, get autographs, buy merchandise, listen to live music and more. 

Four BGSU students, including Herold, served as area managers who led groups of between 20-40 teammates to run games like quarterback scramble, prestige passing and field goal kicking that fans could do while on site.

Before the game, students assisted with gameday operations, worked a tailgate called the Playmaker’s Club and helped guests navigate their way in and around Allegiant Stadium.

Alexis Ordel, a junior sport management major from Lima, Ohio, said seeing a massive sporting event up close allowed her to evaluate a possible career option in real-time.

Through helping the NFL put on its showcase event, Ordel said she began thinking about what it would be like to work for an NFL team.

“I’m still thinking about what I want to do after graduation, and this definitely opened up my eyes about pursuing a career in the NFL,” she said. “In the past few years, I’ve been thinking about working for a Power Five school, but seeing what goes on behind the scenes at one of the biggest sporting events in the U.S. made me think about possibly working for an NFL team down the line.”

Beyond attending Super Bowl week, students had the opportunity to meet and interact with sport management professionals in or affiliated with the NFL who offered advice to the burgeoning professionals.

“It helped give us a glimpse of what it’s going to look like once we graduate and get out there into the field,” said Ryan Griswold, a junior from Loveland, Ohio, who is studying sport management. 

“We had the chance to meet and hear from speakers who gave us advice on how to do this for a career and what to do after you graduate,” he said. “That part of the trip was super memorable, and all the advice I got will guide me forward once I graduate.”

Caitlyn Shortridge, a coordinator of recruitment and outreach for the BGSU Office of Admissions and a sport management adjunct professor, said SMA students accomplished a great deal in a short time with their Super Bowl experience.

"As the advisor to Sport Management Alliance, I am beyond proud of the work these students accomplished during our stay in Las Vegas,” Shortridge said. “It is no small feat to fundraise thousands of dollars, take a week off school and travel across the country with a group of 30 people. I am astounded every day by the talent, persistence and know-how of our students at BGSU. They are the future of the sport industry, and the future is bright."

Updated: 02/21/2024 08:34AM