Twelve business students from Gannon University’s sport management and marketing program will be heading to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. for a real-world work experience leading up to Super Bowl LIV.
Gannon is one of only 30 universities from across the country and the only school in the region that will have students there. The trip marks the second time Gannon students have participated in the NFL’s Super Bowl, which is the largest sporting event in the U.S.
Students will arrive in Miami on Tuesday, Jan. 28, and stay until Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Eric Brownlee, Ph.D., associate professor in Gannon’s Dahlkemper School of Business, and Jinhee Yoo, Ph.D., assistant professor of sport management and marketing, coordinated the event to help students gain real-world experience in hospitality, marketing and media through a paid work experience.
The students’ primary job throughout the week will be working at the NFL House. This hospitality rest area offers food and beverages, relaxation and entertainment to VIPs, including current and former NFL players, celebrities and NFL inner circle partners such as executives from sponsoring companies. Students will help with the setup and implementation of events. They will also assist security with monitoring the arrival and departure of VIPs.
On Sunday, Feb. 2, students will work for the NFL On Location Experience, which is the official hospitality partner of the NFL that gives VIPs priority access to the stadium and exclusive parties on gameday.
Brownlee said the students will also attend the University of Miami Sport Industry Networking Conference on Wednesday, Jan. 29 prior to this work.
Students in Gannon’s sport management and marketing program have worked in the past with the local Erie SeaWolves, Bayhawks and Otters sports teams, Brownlee said. He’s also taken students to four MLB All-Star Games and one ESPN Summer X Games.
Brownlee said he makes sure each experience gives students opportunities to both work and network. “Students are working alongside somebody who could hire them in the near future,” he said.
In fact, similar experiences have led graduates of the program to secure jobs with the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Pirates, Memphis Redbirds, Erie Seawolves, Erie Otters and Erie Bayhawks.
Brownlee said the upcoming trip will be a valuable experience for students.
“To get hired in sports you have to have previous industry experience. To have students work at the Super Bowl – the biggest sports industry in the U.S. – is really helpful and looks great on the resume,” he said.