by Bethel University
Bethel University was represented at America's biggest sporting event as students assisted NFL staff at Super Bowl LV. Dr. Josh Greer, program coordinator and assistant professor of sports management, took four students to work hospitality at the big game and gain hands-on, real-world experience.
The group arrived on Tuesday, Feb. 3 to work with the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee at the NFL Fan Experience, helping fan engagement during the week. Working with fans allowed the students an opportunity to network and see how experience is an important overall part of the event. On gameday, students worked media check-in starting at 3:30 am. The group also provided support with crowd control and mask regulations for athletes passing through the stadium.
Students attended include: Mark Craven, senior; Katie Kirkland, senior; Matthew Ellis, sophomore; and Lillian Freeman, freshman
"It was an honor to be a part of the NFL Super Bowl considering the fact that the number of people that were allowed to volunteer this year was significantly lower than previous years due to the pandemic," Craven said.
"The opportunity and experience was a dream come true!" Ellis said. The Super Bowl fan experience where we volunteered pre-week was an awesome experience that helped me a ton understand how to make connections and interact with people. The Super Bowl gameday experience helped me see how volunteering can turn my dream into reality and find a job in something I'm passionate about, which is one of the greatest experiences ever."
"Knowing that the Bethel sports management program played a role in putting together the NFL Super Bowl in Tampa this year and Miami last year is something that I will always cherish," Craven said.
Craven is one of the first students to go through the sports management program at Bethel. The program started with a club and minor in 2018-19 and in 2020 a sports management major was created.
“Experiential learning is a way to introduce students to the sports industry and provide them with opportunities to begin to explore what the industry has to offer,” Greer said. “The Super Bowl is one of the best places for students to learn. People want to hire folks with experience in the field, and we want to be able to offer that opportunity to our students.”
In addition, Bethel students have been behind the scenes of some of the nation’s largest sporting events, including the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Rock-n-Roll Music City Marathon, NCAA College Football National Championship in New Orleans and the Super Bowl in Miami.
A Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Performance, Sports Management equips students with skills and concepts related to management, finance, marketing and law pertaining to the sports industry. Courses give an overview of the business side of a sports organization with the use of the latest trends and technologies. This program trains students who want to become involved in the planning, organizing, managing and budgeting of sports or physical activities.