Original article link: https://publichealth.indiana.edu/news-events/_news/2021/sph-partners-indianapolis-colts.html
IUSPH-B students in the Sport Management and Marketing program support game day operations to gain course credit and real-world experience.
It’s a common challenge: Professional sports arenas everywhere are struggling to find qualified game day staff during a pandemic. For the Indianapolis Colts, though, the solution was anything but common. In need of qualified, eager crew to support operations on the ground, they turned to Indiana University—specifically, the School of Public Health-Bloomington, home of the Kinesiology major in Sport Marketing and Management.
On October 15, 50 IUSPH-B students joined their first of many Zoom calls (this one for orientation and training). By October 17, they were at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis as the Colts took on the Texans—assisting with ticket operations, season ticket member opportunities, sales events, and more. Days later, they met via Zoom again to discuss their game day experience.
“Our new partnership with the Indianapolis Colts gives our students valuable real-world experience that can’t be simulated in the classroom,” says Antonio Williams, associate professor and director of the Sport Marketing and Management program. “This course, designed by Drs. Juha Yoon and Cassandra Coble, also provides the opportunity to gain valuable insights from Colts executives.”
Between their first game day experience and the end of the semester, students will have had dozens of virtual meetings with Colts executives and assisted with operations for at least six home games. The eight-week course, “Colts Game Day Experience,” qualifies students for an official program certification from the Colts.
Since its creation in 1985, the Sport Marketing and Management program, now ranked among the five top such programs in the nation, has prepared hundreds of professionals for careers in all sectors of professional and collegiate sports. The collaboration with the Colts is the latest endeavor to produce outstanding sport professionals who will enter the workforce prepared to encourage and support safe and healthy athletic engagement in the best spirit of public health.
“While the IUSPH-B sport marketing and management program is already among the best in the country, there is no substitute for actively preparing and delivering a superior fan experience,” says Ellen Lucey, director of championships & alliances, corporate relations, marketing and branding at NCAA (and member of the IUSPH-B Dean’s Alliance). “This partnership demonstrates the school’s commitment to continuously producing exemplary leaders in sport marking and management.”
Greg Heller, executive vice president of the Atlanta Braves and also a member of the Dean’s Alliance, agrees. “I want to congratulate Dr. Antonio Williams and IUSPH-B on this partnership,” he says. “It truly is a win-win situation for two great organizations.”
“This initiative supports both organizations’ needs by providing hands-on experience for IU students while also enhancing our game day fan services,” says Charlie Shin, Colts vice president of data strategy and analytics. “We also hope the program can serve as a breeding ground for future talent. We look forward to expanding our collaboration with IU’s Sport Marketing and Management program.”