The Charger Blog

Sport Management Majors Get Inside Look at College Football National Championship Game

As part of their experience in California, the students went behind-scenes at college football’s biggest game, networked with professionals in the field, and visited several collegiate and professional sports venues.

January 28, 2019

By Jonathan Cimino ‘20 and Christopher Fernicola ‘20

Chong Qiu
Sports management majors (L-R) Matthew Bishopp '20, Christopher Fernicola '20, Anthony Bruno '20, Jonathan Cimino '20, Ricky Hauser '20, and Doug Akerstrom '19 on the field after the College Football Playoff national championship game.

When this year’s executive board of the Sports Industry Club took over, we had one thought in our mind: attending the 2019 College Football Playoff national championship game. Our goal was to send a group of students out to California to volunteer throughout the week leading up to the big game.

The biggest question mark was how we would fund this trip. Fortunately, we found a way through the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) and the Center for Student Engagement, Leadership and Orientation (CSELO). Without the help of the USGA budget committee and CSELO, this trip would not have been possible.

We are happy to say we made the most of this valuable experience.Jonathan Cimino ‘20 and Christopher Fernicola '20

For four days, members of the Sports Industry Club volunteered at College Football Playoff-related events. Our responsibilities included communicating with media members and checking credentials for those attending the events.

While volunteering, we were able to talk with and create connections with many executives from sport-related companies, including ESPN, IMG, and Westwood One. We experienced firsthand the preparation and planning that goes into a large-scale event like this. The most exciting part of this trip was being able to work the championship game itself. We had access to various sections of the stadium in which we could observe what goes on behind-the-scenes of a major sporting event like the College Football Playoff.

We were also very fortunate to have Professor Gil Fried accompany us on this trip. Thanks to his many connections, we were able to attend two fantastic facility tours and network with industry professionals.

We toured the many facilities on the campus of Stanford University and received an inside look at how their facilities and stadium differed from some Division I facilities that we are used to seeing on the east coast.

We also had the opportunity to tour the SAP Center, home of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. This was a unique experience because the stadium was not being used that day so were we able to see parts of the stadium that normally would not be available on game days. We also were able to learn about how the SAP Center was used during the week of the national championship game and how they were able to host media day in the morning and then host a home hockey game later that day.

This was a trip that our club will never forget. The experiences we had will benefit us all as we pursue careers in the sports industry.