Internships in Sports Management
A sport management internship keeps a former athlete like Alyssa Crowley ’15 on the playing field.
A marketing intern last fall with the New England Patriots, one part of Crowley’s responsibilities was to serve as a game day flag runner. Every time the Patriots scored, she and a fellow intern raced across the opposite end zone waving a giant Patriots flag to pump up the crowd.
“Although it was the easiest of jobs, it was the most enjoyable,” says Crowley, who in the past year has served two internships, volunteered at two summer events and now works part time for Paragon Marketing as a field marketing coordinator for its Gatorade Youth Program.
“I have always been an athlete and a fan of sports, and I never would have thought I could be working with pro teams,” says Crowley, the captain of her high school softball team who also played lacrosse in middle school and tried out rugby at Merrimack. “I always knew I was meant for the business world, but to put an athletic spin on it interested me more. I knew combining two things I was interested in would make me that much more determined to find my own career path.”
Kevin Palladino ’15 cherishes his memories of also being a Patriots flag runner at seven of the eight regular-season games and two playoff games last season.
“Running across the field in front of 60,000-plus fans was awesome,” Palladino says. His other Patriots duties included customer service before, during and after games and working pre-game parties in the practice field house.
When Palladino realized in high school that his baseball career wouldn’t get him to the major leagues, he decided he wanted to work in sports.
“Watching your teams do well and knowing that you were part of that success is a great feeling,” he says. “I would love to work in professional baseball with the Boston Red Sox because they are my favorite team by far.”
He started his sport management internships with the Lowell Spinners, the Boston Red Sox Class A farm team. He spent two summers as a food and beverage intern.
“The most important lesson that I have learned from my internships was being able to think on my feet,” Palladino says. Interaction with fans was constant at the Spinners’ intimate LeLacheur Park.
“On numerous occasions, fans came up to me with questions and complaints, and you had to think of a way to make sure that they were satisfied,” he says. Knowing the park’s layout allowed him to direct fans to the location of their seats. And he had to keep abreast of specific game promotions to answer questions about them.
Internships aren’t limited to professional teams. Palladino served one at XOS Digital, a software company in Wilmington that provides digital asset management solutions, facility design and digital coaching technologies for colleges and professional sports teams.
For Crowley, the most important lesson learned from her internships is that teamwork is essential in any business situation.
“If I am unable to answer a question or take on a specific task, I know there is someone by my side that can. Communication goes hand in hand with teamwork. There was not one day that went by during my internships where I did not communicate with a supervisor or fellow intern.”
She had to learn not to be afraid to ask a question or to seek help on a task.
“My internships have given me the confidence to do so. I’d rather ask a million questions and do my job right than make a fool of the company or myself,” she says.
Patrick Lenihan ’15 spent four months as a social media intern for Comcast Sportsnet New England, editing and uploading videos and coordinating social media postings, among other duties.
Lenihan also had an internship last summer on the Jimmy Fund’s corporate partnership team. He organized events for WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio and Telethon and John Hancock Fenway Park Fantasy Day.
He fondly recalls “being able to roam freely throughout an empty Fenway Park and walk around the field, dugout, concourses, clubs and luxury boxes and tour the locker rooms.”
Internships can start on campus, as they did for Crowley, who began in the Athletic Department selling tickets as a sophomore. Working with ticket buyers every day improved her communication skills, she said. She also worked for the New England Revolution, the other half of the Kraft Sports Group, which also owns the Patriots.
Last summer, she volunteered with Pitching in For Kids on its celebrity golf tournament, organized by former Red Sox players Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek. Overseeing raffles and contests at every hole and serving lunch to the players meant “a fun day that proved to me I could work alongside professional athletes,” Crowley says.
In fact, Crowley was on the Gillette Stadium field the Sunday after the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. Red Sox players came onto the field with the World Series trophy.
“I was photographed behind Jon Lester as he walked out holding the trophy. The next day, the picture was everywhere, including the Patriots homepage. That picture is now framed in my bedroom,” Crowley says.