SMA returns to the Super Bowl

Article by David Dietrich

For the second consecutive year, the Sport Management Alliance (SMA) will be sending a group of students to the Super Bowl. Last year, 32 members traveled to Minnesota to work at the fan fest and pregame activities. This year, 24 students will have a similar opportunity at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Despite the events being 1,127 miles and 364 days apart, there will be some consistency in the trips.

Senior Cory Radebaugh, who attended Super Bowl LII, is co-coordinating the trip this year. “Much like last year, we will be working at the Fan Fest throughout the week. Last year’s duties included working in the Play 60 Kids’ Zone, Autograph Stage, and Combine Experience,” explained Radebaugh. “We will also be on-location in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on gameday, which will be one of the most exciting and beneficial parts of the experience.”

Assisting Cory will be junior Julia Blum, who is a first-time Super Bowl attendee. “I’m very excited for this opportunity, and I know our members feel the same way,” says Blum. “The chance to be a part of a large event is something we are very grateful for, and we look forward to using the week to gain experience in a very professional setting.”

For all 24 students, this will be a very fulfilling and memorable experience. Last year’s matchup between the Eagles and Patriots amassed over 100 million television viewers and is considered by some to be the greatest Super Bowl of all time. This year’s competitive NFL shows the promise of another exciting game, and SMA students are looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere in the ATL.

While the trip itself is very thrilling, the experience gained will pay dividends for members as they progress through their college career. Not only will it catch the eye of a future employer, it will open students’ eyes to the production of one of the biggest sporting events in the world. SMA focuses on experience, networking, and professional development, and the Super Bowl provides the unique opportunity to utilize all three aspects.

“SMA strives to provide members with tools to enhance what they learn in the classroom at BGSU. This is done through professional workshops, job fairs, trips, etc. Having the opportunity to volunteer at events like the Super Bowl maximizes our members' ability to progress their experience beyond what BGSU requires to graduate,” says SMA president Kyle Edmond.

“These experiences and connections can be the difference when applying for jobs after college,” he continues. “We make it a yearly goal to supply as many opportunities as we can to our members to better prepare themselves for the next step professionally, and the Super Bowl is a big part of that.”

Like any trip, the journey to Atlanta will not come without its costs. For drivers who will pay for gas and tolls, the total estimated cost hovered around $800. The money for gas and tolls will be compensated, and the Office of Campus Activities is also providing financial support. Still, SMA wanted to lower the cost for its students. Over the past semester, students have done numerous jobs to raise money for the organization and the trip.

At BGSU football and hockey games, groups of students volunteered to work in the concession stands. More students volunteered to clean the bleachers of Doyt Perry Stadium after each home football game. Other forms of fundraising came through a raffle, partnering with local businesses and restaurants, and even a Pie the Professor event. Directly working with the BGSU Athletic Department and faculty will open the door to more on-campus opportunities for SMA members and help lower the cost of a high-priced trip.

Of the 24 students traveling south, ten are freshmen, three are sophomores, seven are juniors, and four are seniors. The most popular major among attendees is Sport Management, but there are other related majors such as Business, Marketing, and Athletic Training. Regardless of major, class standing, or previous experience, each member will be entering the week with excitement and a sense of opportunity. By the end of the week, each member will have the experience to help them get a head start in a competitive industry, along with memories that will last a lifetime.

This trip would not be a success without the help of Bowling Green State University, the College of Education and Human Development, and the Sport Management program. We would also like to thank the community of Bowling Green for supporting us, none of this would be possible without their backing. Thank you!