St. John’s Students Succeed at FOX Sports University Challenge
Students in St. John’s University’s Sport Management program gained real-world experience last semester by pitching executives from the FOX Sports Brand Activation Team unique and creative ways to connect brands with fans during the 2019 US Open in Pebble Beach, CA, and the 2019 US Women’s Open in Charleston, SC.
More than 30 students from the Queens and Staten Island, NY, campuses participated in FOX Sports University, a competition in which students use digital and social media tools to develop brand awareness around new and existing sponsors for both events. More than 40 universities throughout the country have taken part in the program. Participating St. John’s students came from the Social Media in Sport course taught by Robert J. Romano, J.D., LL.M., Assistant Professor, Division of Sport Management.
“These types of partnerships and engagements with leading organizations in the field are what make our education so enriching,” said Katia Passerini, Ph.D., Dean, College of Professional Studies (CPS). “The class work is immediately applicable to students’ specialization. Being able to continuously translate theory into practice by working on applied projects is the defining characteristic of CPS pedagogy, and a tradition of which we are very proud.”
“I always like to have students out there actually doing something,” Prof. Romano noted. “Learning in the classroom is great, but putting it into practice helps them tremendously. It gives them the opportunity to see what it is like out there. In all my classes, I do some form of experiential learning.”
Divided into teams of three or four, students developed strategic social media plans using tools such as apps, digital videos, and golf simulators, among others. Along the way, they received guidance and mentorship from the FOX Sports Brand Activation Team, who met with them twice during the semester and returned Dec. 5 to judge the 10–12 minute presentations.
FOX Sports University is not just about offering life experience to students, but also providing the tools and resources to help build a career in the sports industry, observed Micaela Asercion, Associate Manager, Strategic Partnerships for FOX Sports. “The program was a natural fit for St. John’s University’s growing and well-established Sport Management program.”
St. John’s has participated in FOX Sports University since 2015, and Ms. Asercion stressed that the program gives students a window into their potential future careers. “One of the best ways to learn is by doing. Through this program, students can apply their classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios,” she stressed, adding that students benefit from the insight of professionals throughout the process.
All program participants become part of the FOX Sports University alumni network. Upon completion, students receive a survey which allows them to provide their contact information and career interests, and FOX Sports consults this list when specific job opportunities become available. Over the past 11 years, more than 100 students have been hired as interns or full-time employees after participating in FOX Sports University.
The winning concept, dubbed “Tee-Time” by students, proposed an interactive live-streaming app that will feature each hole as it is played, providing statistical information on the golfer and the course, analysis videos, as well as sponsored interactive ads.
“Working on a project like this gives us the opportunity to collaborate with our fellow students, generate creative ideas, and demonstrate how they can be put into practice,” observed Sport Management major Dietric Wing-Paul.
“As a senior, I’m looking to put myself out there with companies like FOX or ESPN,” stressed Sal Piro, also a Sport Management major, adding that he was grateful to St. John’s for providing opportunities for him to connect with industry giants like FOX.
Junior Samantha Mulvey said that FOX Sports University exposed her to real-world scenarios like no other program. Samantha hopes to enter the marketing field after college. “It gave me a taste of what life might be life after graduation. I knew I had to bring my A-game.”