Super Bowl XLI will benefit seven university students from the sport management program and one professor.
Fritz Polite will join these students in Miami on Feb. 2 as they interact with other professionals in sports management to put on the largest show in the world.
Joining Polite in Miami are Jennifer Edwards, M.S. Sport Management; Sue Flamini, MBA, M.S.; Zach Franz, M.S. Sport Management; Chanel Lattimer, M.S. Sport Management; Chris Miller, MBA; Tommy Smith, MBA and Lindsey Smith, B.S. Sport Management. The group, “Team UT,” will be involved in several activities including event management, marketing, sponsorship, corporate VIP hospitality and logistics.
“These are all critical elements of staging a mega sporting event,” Polite said.
Specifically the students will be working the “NFL On Location Function.” This is hosted by the commissioner and is attended by all the major partners.
“The students will be responsible for assisting the Host Committee in the operations/logistics to include communications, quality control, seating and general oversight and management of over 50 volunteers,” said Polite.
The students will also work on the NFL Sponsor Party to coordinate logistics associated with sponsor signage, and designated assignments by XLI director Soulan Johnson. These assignments have been reserved for special VIP attendees.
Chris Miller, a first-year MBA, is excited about the many professional opportunities as well as watching an impressive performance.
“There will always be hype surrounding the Super Bowl,” said Miller, who is also concerned with the many marketing techniques used at large sporting events.
“I’m concerned with companies and how they promote their products,” he said.
Not only will the students be in high positions of responsibility, but “(they) will be able to experience a mega-event and the essential aspects of an event of this magnitude,” Polite said.
Creating the essential aspects of events of this magnitude requires a high level of professionalism. Only a small percentage of select students were offered the opportunity to attend Super Bowl XLI.
“The opportunity for the students to attend Super Bowl XLI in Miami speaks directly to their professional accomplishments,” Polite said. “The selection process was rigorous and they superseded the committees’ expectations. The merging of theoretical concepts with the practical applications of the business of sport is a rare and unique opportunity.”
This all started in Jacksonville and Central Florida when Polite was involved with the Host Super Bowl Committee to bring students to Super Bowl 39. He coordinated with the committee in Jacksonville to mesh theoretical concepts learned in the classroom with practical applications in the business and sporting arena. Through his work, Polite continues providing experiences that merge academics with real world concepts that benefit the student’s future career.
“Being around an event like this, you learn through osmosis. You plan for an entire year for one day. This is about putting out fires,” Polite said.
One year of planning, however, doesn’t necessarily guarantee perfection. Even on a professional level, unexpected consequences occur.
Speaking of fires, no one can surely predict the outcome of this year’s Super Bowl. Aside from all the statistical data, the events of Super Bowl night are nearly a mystery. This fact demonstrates the importance of real world experience in a career like Sports Management. In UT Athletics, the primary motivation for events like these is the opportunity to provide student experience.
“The more they experience, the more they benefit,” said Chris Fuller of the Athletic Department.
Many sports management students find themselves coming back to the UT Athletic Department. However, Fuller is always motivated by opportunities to place students in professional organizations, as well. This opportunity was made possible by the Miami XLI Super Bowl Committee, UT Sport Management Program, UT Athletics, St. Mary’s Hospital and the college of Business Administration.