Super Bowl Internship Proves Worthwhile for UNOH Students

Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2019


UNOH Students pose with the 'ATL' sign at Team Atlanta HQ

Written by Contributing Columnist: Adam Smith

 “Congratulations, you have been selected to be an intern at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.”  This is the phone call nine Sport Marketing and Management students and two professors at the University of Northwestern Ohio received back in October 2018.  Selected were Austin Arnold, Aubrey Brunst, Grace Jackson, Yasmeen Mack, Craig Mell, Sydney Morrell, Kara Timmons, Adam Smith, MacKenzie Watson, Professor Julia Etzkorn, and Professor Phil Gunder.  All eleven gathered together a week before they were to head to Atlanta for an online training with one of the head organizers of Team Atlanta, the organization in charge of Super Bowl Live activities.  Finally, after months of waiting, the time to head to Atlanta came on January 30th.  It was not a moment too soon as the temperatures in Ohio, with wind chill, was a brisk -41 degrees, while the weather in Atlanta was a much more palatable, 25 degrees. 

Everyone met on campus at 8:00am, loaded the vehicle, and headed off to Georgia.  After a 10 hour drive, while stopping for gas twice, the group finally arrived at their Air B&B house in Union City, GA.  Once they unpacked, the group headed out to eat at a local Mexican Restaurant and went to get groceries for the house for the next five days of their stay.  After getting back to the house, everyone was pretty tired from the long drive and went to bed so they could get up early and start their time as interns for Super Bowl LIII.  In the morning, everyone gathered in the van once again and headed to the MARTA Station; a train system that would take the group to downtown Atlanta so they could get their uniforms and credentials for the week.  After receiving their uniforms, which included a long sleeve polo, backpack, gloves, scarf, knitted hat, and a jacket, the group headed back to the house to prepare for their first shift. 

The first shift took place at Super Bowl Live, located in Olympic Centennial Park, and the group was scheduled to work from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  Super Bowl Live is like a small village where there are tons of free events and activities going on for the fans to enjoy while they are in town for the Super Bowl.  There were booths for NFL players to come and speak at, an NFL shop to buy souvenirs, a place to see the Lombardi Trophy, food trucks, a DJ, and a stage for music and concerts to be enjoyed.  The girls in the group volunteered to be dancers by the DJ to get the fans excited and to keep the party going.  The five others that were not dancing were spread throughout the Super Bowl Live venue to take pictures for fans, give directions, and hand out any other information the fans needed.  There were some NFL players walking around Super Bowl Live including Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, who also walked through briefly.  10:00 p.m. quickly came and just like that Day 1 was over and everyone headed back to the house to get some rest to start Day 2.


For the second day’s shift, the group worked at Team Atlanta Headquarters from 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.  While working in the headquarters students saw the behind the scenes action as they were the ones checking people in, folding and gathering uniforms, getting credentials, and greeting other volunteers as they started their shift.  Aubrey Brunst, one of the UNOH students checking in volunteers, was excited to be a part of the event, “I’m beyond grateful for an experience like this,” she said.  “It was eye opening and very cool to see the behind the scenes of what it takes to make an event like the Super Bowl possible.” 

After working their shift in the headquarters, the group was looking for a place to eat and decided to ask some of the locals for tips.  They decided on “Sweet Georgia Juke Joint”, an authentic southern home cooked meal restaurant.  While there, the group enjoyed pulled pork, chicken and waffles, pork chops and fried chicken.  After eating, it was back to the house to relax, watch TV, play games, and have a couple of intense rounds of euchre.  “It was nice to just sit back and enjoy everyone’s company for an evening,” added Adam Smith. 

For the third day it was back to Super Bowl Live where some students worked outside of an exit gate, letting fans know how to get into Super Bowl Live and what all was inside.  The rest of the students were spread throughout the outside of Olympic Park to help give directions to fans walking by.  Craig Mell, one of the students working outside the exit gate, said “I had curious fans asking what was going on inside and watching them walk over and join the madness in the lines to enter the park.  I enjoyed learning what it takes to put something like that together and even seeing what was done correctly, but also what was missed and done incorrectly.”

After the shift it was back to the house to enjoy pizza and a night in for some of the students.  A few of the girls bought tickets to the Bruno Mars and Cardi B concert and traveled back downtown to enjoy a fun concert the night before the Big Game. 

Day four, the Super Bowl finally arrived.  One last shift was left to be done at the Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta, right beside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Super Bowl was to be played later that evening.  This shift was for Ignite 53, a tailgating party for the organizers of the Team Atlanta Super Bowl Committee.  Some students stood outside and held signs for buses to drop people off for the event.  Other students were inside giving directions to the party, and the rest were charging phones for the staff outside the room where the tailgate party took place.  After the shift students could buy souvenirs and walk around to see all of the vendors.  At the end of the shift, it was time for the students and professors to get back on the MARTA one last time to head to the house and watch the Super Bowl together as a group. 

Monday morning included an early wake-up call to load up the van and start heading back to Ohio.  This time the van only stopped once for gas and a quick lunch as everyone was anxious to get home.  The group pulled back into the UNOH campus around 4:30pm that afternoon.  Following the trip, Professor Phil Gunder commented, “I am really proud of the students and how well they represented our UNOH community.”  “What I liked was being able to be a part of one of America’s biggest events and helping people at the NFL Live,” said Mell.  This is one experience the students and the professors will never forget.  In trying to sum up the experience as a whole, MacKenzie Watson said it best with one word, “WOW!”

Category: Campus & Community, Business, Health, and Occupational Professions

Keywords: Super Bowl, Sport Marketing and Management

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Last updated: 02/28/2019