GVSU Marketing and Fan Development
Employer: Grand Valley State University Athletic Marketing and Fan Development
Job Title: GVSU Athletics Marketing and Fan Development Intern
Major: Sport Management
Received Credit: Yes
Description of the Organization
Grand Valley State University's Athletic Program competes in the NCAA Division 2 conference, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Known as the Lakers, GVSU is home to 20 varsity athletic teams including football, men's and women's basketball, women's soccer, softball, baseball, and more. GVSU is introducing their 21st varsity-level team, men's and women's wrestling, in the next couple of years. GVSU Athletics is arguably the best Division II athletics school of all time, winning the Director's Cup 13 times over the last two decades. Within athletics, my department was the Marketing and Fan Development division, where a group of individuals from interns to graphic designers to the director of the department all worked together to increase fan engagement, especially with students, at our sporting events.
Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed
For just about every sport, as an intern staff, we did very similar tasks including stadium music, game operations, video and scoreboard operations, camera operations, and much more. Football season was pretty wild and hectic, but it was fun the whole time. Most games started at 7 pm, but we interns and other staff had to be there at noon to set everything up for tailgating, tickets, t-shirt giveaways, and communicate with sponsors. Most games had over 10,000 in attendance, and a big factor in that is student attendance as our student tickets are free. During the game, we have to run different promotions at different times of the game that are clearly outlined in the script we get hours before. These promotions include operating the t-shirt cannon and shooting it into the crowd, finding students to do games on the field during media timeouts, playing certain music, and whatever else we needed to do to make the event more than just a football game. This year we broke our attendance record for a home football game with over 17,000 at our football stadium to watch us play our West Michigan Rival Ferris State, who was ranked #1 at the time and we were #5
Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience
I enhanced my customer service skills, the ability to think quickly on my feet, and how to work as a team to achieve one common goal. There are a lot of specific skills I gained as a sport manager that I'm going to carry with me throughout my career, which is something I greatly appreciated during my time with GVSU Athletics. My Sport Management classes related directly to the work I will be doing and did do in the sport management field and I was able to enhance my knowledge and develop specific skills that I am forever grateful for.
Favorite Part of the Experience
Interacting with fans. Every home event, especially football and basketball, I watched as hundreds of GVSU students packed our seats to support their fellow Lakers. It was always so much fun to pull students out of the stadium bleachers to have them participate in an on-field promotion, whether that be a 3-point shootout, a hot dog costume race, or whatever other fun and exciting promotional event we planned for that game.
How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals
I was able to understand further what I see myself doing and what I don't see myself doing. I thrive off of the energy in the stadium and sporting events and that has shown me that the path I want to go on definitely involves fan development or engagement in some capacity.