During my internship with the Chicago Dogs baseball team, I was fortunate to learn about many aspects of the sports entertainment industry as interns were rotated through them regularly. Rotations included exposure to front office tasks such as stadium operations, sales, and guest services/box office and marketing tasks such as content creation and promotions. Stadium operations staff ensure the stadium is ready for fans on game days by preparing the event space, unlocking private spaces and bathrooms, stadium set up and tear down, confirmation of proper ADA seating. Sales team works with fans to create an exceptional fan experience by working face to face with Chicago Dogs group leaders on gamedays to ensure their guest event is a success (making sure food is filled, space is clean and set up properly), calling fans in the case of a rainout, and calling past buyers to sell them on the upcoming weeks activities. Guest Services/Box Office deal directly fans to assist them with purchasing tickets or assisting with any issues such as delays, reschedules, distribution of wrist bands for groups in party decks, greeting fans as they enter/exit the stadium or general game day questions or problems. Content Creation works with the social media manager to create content for all social media platforms such as trending Tiktok content, live updates to our Instagram story, and keeping our day-to-day posts fresh and exciting on all platforms. Promotion responsibilities include finding contestants, running in-game promotions, and keeping the fans engaged throughout the game. I feel lucky to be exposed to all these different aspects of the sports entertainment industry because I gained a better understanding of all the roles instead of being focused on just one aspect.
My greatest accomplishment during my internship has been making connections with the interns and full-time staff. It has been a great opportunity to be around a large group of students studying sports management or event management and full-time staff who are working in that industry. I tend to be more of a quiet person especially in a big group of people, but I’ve had many conversations with staff members and the other interns learning more about them and past experiences they have had while working in the sports entertainment industry. Connections and friendships are very important in general but especially in this industry it seems that having good first impressions and recommendations from peers are crucial for getting a job. An example is I found out that a handful of the interns go to the University of Iowa, and we already made plans to meet up when Iowa plays Iowa State in football this fall. Another example is that in talking to one of the staff members, I found out that his college friend is the event manager for Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. I was able to connect with him and will be applying for jobs shortly.
The greatest lesson I have learned from this experience is to adjust my mindset and realize that every job is important for creating a positive experience for the fans. I learned about this during the first week of my internship from the owner of the Chicago Dogs. He talked about moments of truth which is defined as any opportunity a customer (or potential customer) can form an impression about a company, brand, product, or service. In the sports entertainment industry moments of truth are very important because everything, no matter how big or small, can be a moment of truth. If a customer forms a bad impression this will be harder to overcome compared to making sure they continually have a positive experience.
What advice would you give?
My advice for future students in my major is to introduce yourself to each department member. Try to speak with every individual and learn more about what they do. You never know when another employee in the organization is engaged in activities that could one day be of interest to you. Even though you might not want to stay with the company, it is important to create a positive impression for yourself because that manager may move to another organization, and you don’t want to have burned any bridges.