search button
newscenter logo
Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Follow SDSU Follow SDSU on Twitter Follow SDSU on Facebook SDSU RSS Feed

Jim Wilkie (top left) Laurel Smith (bottom left) and Angelica Gamez (right) are photographed during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Jim Wilkie (top left) Laurel Smith (bottom left) and Angelica Gamez (right) are photographed during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Sports MBA Students Work Behind-the-Scenes at Super Bowl LVI

SMBA ’22 got the opportunity to aid in the setup and execution of Super Bowl LVI.
By SDSU News Team

Many students played crucial roles in off-site events and processes leading up to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium. A few students were able to experience working on-site. Angelica Gamez (SMBA ’22), Laurel Smith (SMBA ’22), and Jim Wilkie (SMBA ’22) shared their varied experiences.

What were your roles and responsibilities on-site?

Laurel: I worked on-site for about two weeks leading up to Super Bowl game day, so over the course of the project, I wore quite a few hats. I was lucky enough to land this position through my current employer, Kilowatt Events, which was on-site to manage the NFL Honors Red Carpet and staff COVID testing. 

I was primarily involved with the production and broadcast of the NFL Honors, the National Football League’s annual awards show, and the Super Bowl Tailgate, a televised pre-party/concert for game day attendees. Between these two events, I got to work with a variety of different people, from stage managers and producers to talent and celebrities. My responsibilities were to support staff members at all levels with day-to-day execution of production-related work, including credentialing, COVID testing, talent and host rider preparation and expense management.  
 Laurel Smith is photographed during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
What were your primary duties at SoFi Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday?

Jim: In a coincidental twist, considering my previous career as a journalist, I was assigned to the media route to help members of the media get to various areas inside the stadium. Stationed outside Gate 7, I guided credentialed media members to the correct path around the frequent bottlenecks caused by ticketholders entering the adjacent VIP entrance. With the demands of constant deadlines and social media updates, it’s important for the media to get smooth access to the press box, media work rooms or field of play. From their words and expressions, I could tell they appreciated not having to spend any unnecessary time in lineups.
Jim Wilke is photographed during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. 

Describe what it was like to experience Super Bowl LVI as an in-stadium contract worker. 

Angelica: This was my first Super Bowl, and the experience was absolutely surreal. To be able to have been inside SoFi stadium for the entire duration of the game was unlike anything I have ever experienced. In my role, I was assigned to oversee the north side of the stadium on the Level 8 Upper Concourse where my primary duties revolved around fan experience. Throughout my shift, I was assisting guests with wayfinding, answering general event questions, and monitoring my vicinity for anything that might need to be escalated to management. It was truly eye-opening to see all the small details that are done behind the scenes in order to make sure thousands of fans are accommodated for. I went through an in-person training a few days prior to the game where I was given a stadium tour, along with notable information to study, so I was able to confidently help fans in my area to ensure they had a seamless game day experience. 
Angelica Gamez (SMBA '22) is photographed during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. 

What was your biggest takeaway from this weekend?

Jim: I’ve worked some pretty big sporting events as a journalist (Stanley Cup Finals, NHL All-Star Games and X Games), but while working as a Populous Ambassador on Sunday I gained a deeper appreciation for the massive coordination of operations needed to stage the Super Bowl. From the logistical needs of off-site staff parking and bus shuttles to the multi-step security checks, the NFL and its staffing partners pulled off a complicated and expansive event, and that’s just for us auxiliary workers. 

How did working Super Bowl LVI relate to your future career goals in sports business? 

Laurel: This is the second Super Bowl I have been a part of, so being able to mark my progress since Houston was really insightful for me. I am pursuing a career in venue management and operations, so production work is great for getting to know all of the different aspects that go into operations for an event such as the Super Bowl. The television and broadcast angle was new for me, and that helped to familiarize me with some things I may have to work in tandem with in the future, even if I am not directly involved with broadcasting. Overall, I was able to take on a lot more responsibility than I have in the past to keep both shows running smoothly, and I got to know SoFi Stadium and YouTube Theater really well, which I can now use as points of reference when working in similar venues later on.