Graduate Student Puts Her Education Into Action
Vanessa Murillo MA ’24, a sport management student at USF’s Orange County campus, worked at four Liga MX soccer games in the U.S. last month, part of her PRIMETIME Sports & Entertainment scholarship in Los Angeles. Here, she talks about the experience.
It consists of a $5,000 scholarship applied to your tuition plus the opportunity to work at PRIMETIME [sports marketing and media agency] as an intern for a semester. You get to work in international games and learn about operations, partnerships, game presentation, and everything that planning an international game entails. It is a valuable hands-on experience within the sports industry.
So you worked four LIGA MX soccer games in the U.S.? What did you do?
I started working at PRIMETIME a month and a half before the games, so I got to participate in the planning stage a bit. I learned how to do the run of show, vendor grids, and the public address, and I had to update them as broadcasting times changed. I also was responsible for booking everything we needed to host fans at the fan fest: trusses, material lifts, barricades, and everything needed for the event. I also got the opportunity to work with the vendors to create the awards that were given during the games to the legends (former players).
As the games got closer, I had to reach out to the sponsors to confirm their VIP experience, which I was responsible for. I was also part of the team that got to do walkthroughs at the venues so we could get familiar with the spaces and plan accordingly for the big day.
As a huge sports fan, this was an amazing experience. I got to see every part of the stadium, from the actual field to locker rooms, to suites and media rooms. A few days before the game I traveled to San Diego to help with the set-up. I had designated each sponsor their area and participated in conversations with the stadium staff about operations for game day.
On the day of the event, I was working alongside one of my coworkers at the fan fest making sure everything was going according to the itinerary we had and solving any issues that came up. Prior to the game, I was in charge of the VIP experience and making sure the team mascots were ready for their duties during the game.
Once the match started, I had to make sure halftime ceremony equipment was on the field on time and that the people involved in the show had their credentials to be allowed on the field. After that, I helped with loading out and packing everything into the truck to do it all over again the following day for the next game.
What did you learn in your work at those games?
I learned a million things, from creating a run of show to handling more than 50 people on the field. But overall, I learned the importance of putting 100 percent into something, big or small. When I started working at PRIMETIME, I thought I was doing small things, but then I saw all those small things come together during the game and realized that even the smallest of things matter when putting on a show.
Second, I learned to be organized. Very important if you want to work in operations. Third, I saw firsthand how going that extra mile goes a long way. I’ve learned that when we give a little extra, the effort doesn’t go unnoticed. But most importantly, I realized the importance of connecting with your team. A team works better when all the pieces involved have a strong bond and you are able to rely on your teammates when you trust them. Everyone at PRIMETIME welcomed me with wide open arms. The team is like a family, and I am confident that it is one of the reasons the company is so successful. Every single person at the office has taught me something and has shared their experience and wisdom. I know for a fact that I would not have been able to get through the four games without their help.
What are your hopes and plans after you graduate?
In the long run, I would like to work either in game-day production at a football team or in partnerships at an agency, but for now, I would love to keep growing and learning with my team at PRIMETIME.