By: Cassidy Sutton
Cassidy Sutton is a third -year undergraduate student at BGSU. from Plainfield, IL. She is majoring in Sport Management with a marketing Minor. Football, Hockey and Baseball are her primary sport interests, but she is also interested in stadium/arena management.
On February 6, 2023 myself and 19 other members of the Sport Management Alliance (SMA) at Bowling Green State University headed out to Arizona for Super Bowl LVII. Being a part of such a large sporting event was not only the chance of a life time, but an experience I will never forget. SMA was fortunate enough to work at both the NFL Experience and the actual Super Bowl game.
The NFL Experience was held at the Phoenix Convention Center starting on Monday the 6th and operating until Saturday the 11th. It was a ticketed event with the ticket prices being $20 on the weekdays and $40 on the weekend for the general public to purchase.
This event included three levels of interactive games and NFL memorabilia for fans to connect with the NFL on a different level. Some interactive games included, but were not limited to the 40 yard dash, field goal kicking, tackling drills, throwing drills, tackling drills, Fuel Up to Play 60, etc. These games were catered toward children mostly, but adults also took part in these activities.
Thursday February 9th, was the first day we worked the NFL Experience. I was assigned on the lowest level of the convention center which was filled with tons of different components relating to the NFL. To start off the shift I was tasked with monitoring the line for the Super Bowl rings. Although it doesn’t sound like the most exciting job, it was extremely amazing to see the past 56 Super Bowl rings all on display in the same room. The rings were also surrounded by every single NFL’s team’s helmet covered in Swarovski crystals. I was fortunate enough to not only be working with those, but also helping assist lines for autograph signings by well known athletes such as David Montgomery from the Chicago Bears.
On Saturday February 11th, I worked on the middle level of the convention center where I handed out stickers to little kids, interacted with fans and took pictures. The stickers were used for people to take either an Eagles’ one or a Chiefs’ one and place on a giant football statue for extra good luck for the team. While I was up there, I got to walk around and see the different events happening throughout the day. I got to watch AJ Dillon from the Green Bay Packers play pickle ball with professional pickle ball players and assist with the field goal kicking event. The field goal kicking event consisted of two footballs set up on a stand and three field goals for guests to choose from, wind up and take their kicks.
After working the experience on Saturday we were given the opportunity to go back inside the convention center and check everything out for ourselves. We walked around the giant Super Bowl shop they had set up inside which had everything from specific Super Bowl teams’ gear to other NFL teams’ gear and they even had a section for Rihanna, the half time show performer’s makeup line known as Fenty Beauty. Myself and three other SMA members got the chance to check out a live broadcast that was being produced by the NFL Network. Reporters Steve Smith, Sr. And M.J Acosta were hosting the show live from the convention center. We got the chance to talk to them for a few minutes and even took a picture with them. While doing their live show they brought out defensive end from the New Orleans Saints Cam Jordan who also stopped to talk to us for a second and take a picture.
The NFL Experience is something so unique to the NFL and I never knew how big it was until I was there myself. It connects fans to the game of football in a whole new way and I really enjoyed it the most. Seeing all the great accomplishments and people that have come through the NFL was a once in a life time opportunity.