Sport Management Graduate Student Begins Career at ESPN
Alyssa Pasniewski ’23 M.S. is applying what she has learned in the classroom and as a graduate assistant for Charger athletics to her new role at ESPN, where she is responsible for managing TV schedules for regions around the world.
August 18, 2022
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
As a graduate assistant for athletic communications at the University, Alyssa Pasniewski ’23 M.S. attends several Chargers games per week, balancing her coursework and her responsibilities and honing her time management skills. She has now been applying those skills to planning television schedules in her new role at ESPN.
Earlier this summer, Pasniewski, a candidate in the University’s graduate program in sport management, began her position as an international programming coordinator for ESPN. Focused on the Caribbean and Pacific Rim – which includes New Zealand and Australia – regions, she plans and organizes TV schedules for ESPN and ESPN2 in each region.
“I'm enjoying learning about sports on an international level,” said Pasniewski. “Yes, U.S.-based teams and sports organizations resonate overseas, but seeing what sports we in the States are unfamiliar with and that are popular around the globe is cool. ESPN has a deal in the Caribbean with cricket, for example. Other than that, I did not have a lot of experience in the television realm, so every day, so far, has been filled with learning.”
‘How certain decisions would affect business outcomes’
As part of her role, Pasniewski uses media rights contracts to decide which events to air, selecting matchups based on league schedules while abiding by media rights. She also is responsible for handling schedule changes, such as those due to weather or updated start times. Her sport assignments include Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and NCAA Championships.
Pasniewski says it was her time as a Charger that helped ensure a smooth transition to her role at ESPN. As a graduate assistant working under the guidance of Dan Ruede, associate director of athletics for strategic communications, and collaborating with administrators and other graduate assistants, she developed her strategic thinking skills – something she says has already been invaluable in her new role.
“In all my classes at the University, I learned to think about how certain decisions would affect business outcomes and certain audiences,” she explains. “This comes into effect when scheduling, especially when scheduling the Pacific Rim region, since there is such a dramatic difference in time zones. Also, when choosing events, the common goal is always viewership, so critical thinking and decision-making regarding what to air and if it will drive the most viewers always come into play.”
‘It’s relationships that allow you to navigate the field’
While passionate about her career in professional sports, Pasniewski had originally planned to follow a different path. After graduating from high school, she decided to study pharmacy. But as an undergraduate student at the University of Rhode Island, she decided sport management was a better match. She changed her major and began writing for the school newspaper, calling it one of the “best decisions” she has ever made.
Pasniewski then continued her sport management education at the University of New Haven, a choice that helped position her for her current role at ESPN. In particular, she’s grateful for her relationships with her professors, which helped prepare her to excel in the field.
“The guidance and support from professors in the sport management program are a tremendous help,” she said. “Professors Ceyda Mumcu, Al Carbone, and Rob Holub were all very resourceful and personable people who want young professionals such as me to succeed. What you learn in the classroom about the sport business and leadership is all very important, but it’s the relationships that allow you to navigate the field upon completion of the program.”