This school year, FOX Sports University celebrates 10 years of giving college students across the U.S. hands-on learning opportunities, unique resources and meaningful relationships to prepare them for careers after graduation. To date, more than 5,000 students have participated in FOX Sports University. This year, the program will partner with more than 40 universities on projects ranging in topic from the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to college basketball on FS1 and the 2018 U.S. Open Championship.
To celebrate FOX Sports U’s 10th anniversary, we spoke with 10 alumni who now work at FOX Sports about their experiences and how the program has prepared them for their careers.
Can you describe your path to FOX Sports U? What made you decide to participate?
Nolan Connair (National Client Service Coordinator at Home Team Sports): When I heard that FOX Sports U was teaming up with Xavier University, I contacted the head of the university’s Sports Management Department. After learning more about the program, I decided that I wanted to participate because the project sounded like a great resume builder and something that I would enjoy. I love Xavier Basketball, so I couldn’t have been more excited to be given the opportunity to help develop, create and implement a real-world marketing strategy for Xavier University, the BIG EAST and FOX Sports.
Brittany Norton (Senior Coordinator of Marketing and Client Services, FOX Sports Arizona): In my senior year as a telecommunication production major at the University of Florida, I had already had six internships under my belt – all in sports production. My script-writing professor told us about an exclusive class hosted by FOX Sports U. The trusted FOX Sports name, exclusivity and real-world application pushed me to apply. It was the best decision I ever made.
Looking back, what do you think were the biggest benefits of FOX Sports U?
Jessica Musmanno (Marketing/Social Media Coordinator at FOX Sports West): The biggest benefit of FOX Sports U was the networking opportunities it gave me access to. I was able to meet my current bosses in a relaxed setting before I eventually went in for an interview. It also helped me grow as a leader and team player.
Robert Dewitt (Senior Marketing Coordinator, FOX Sports, RSN Marketing): From a macro viewpoint, the class really opened my eyes to the types of questions that sports media companies are facing from day to day. It was the first time I was able to see myself in the industry and really shaped how I went about my last two years at school.
What were the most memorable experiences from your time with FOX Sports U?
Oscar Vargas (Senior Research Analyst, Strategy and Consumer Insights): When FOX Sports U decided to use one of my taglines in their marketing campaigns. My team didn’t win the entire competition, but it felt good to know that I contributed something to the group other than my name at the top of the report.
Sam Doctor (Apprentice in Advanced Ad Products at Fox Networks Group): The opportunity to meet with marketing executives from FOX Sports and the Dallas Stars hockey team. As a part of the FOX Sports U program, our class served as extras for a FOX Sports Southwest commercial spot; we were given a tour of the American Airlines Center, where the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks play; and we attended a Dallas Stars hockey game and a Texas Rangers baseball game.
What was your FOX Sports U project?
Vanessa Hays (Distribution Sales Assistant for Fox Networks Group): Our project centered around #TeamSTL in which groups created a holistic marketing campaign to bring together fans from St. Louis’ three respective professional teams at the time.
Oscar Vargas: How to get Hispanic fans to engage with UFC content.
Ashley Hanne (National Client Service Coordinator at FOX Sports North): Creating a full marketing campaign to promote Hockey Day Minnesota 2015.
Nolan Connair: Developing a marketing strategy that would maximize viewership and attendance of the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Sam Doctor: To develop a marketing campaign for the Dallas Stars hockey team that would drive hockey game viewership on FOX Sports Southwest and foster growth of hockey in the South.
Brittany Norton: Our project was to come up with a unique marketing strategy to promote FOX as the official home of the USGA.
Sam Kandell (Digital Content Optimization and O&O Programming Intern at Fox Sports): Research and develop a strategy that FOX Sports can utilize to put FS1 content top-of-mind for sports fans.
Can you describe the transition from being a FOX Sports U alumnus to a member of the FOX Sports team?
Sam Doctor: I can say that FOX Sports U provided extra tools that have been extremely helpful at work. As a FOX employee, it’s very imported to own your work and stay on top of daily tasks. FOX emphasizes coming up with several potential solutions for any problem. Working for FOX is a learning process, much like FOX Sports U was. Here at FOX, I’m constantly challenged and learning new things. Fox Networks Group is ever-changing along with the entertainment, broadcast and digital ad industries. As a FOX Sports U alumnus, I felt well prepared for working within FOX’s advertising group.
Oscar Vargas: It definitely helped my confidence knowing that I had some type of working experience with the brand, but it also felt good to know that I already had connections at FOX even before becoming a full-time employee.
How do you think FOX Sports U positioned you in the industry among your peers?
Jake Feinsilber (Account Service Representative): I believe one of the major advantages of working with FOX Sports U was allowing me to become part of the FOX family at an earlier stage in my career. Before I ever graduated college, I felt like I was part of a workforce and, more importantly, a family.
Sam Doctor: During interviews, I could say that I had experience working with higher-level marketing executives. FOX Sports U gave me a taste of what it took to put together an intensive marketing plan, as well as the complexities of the entertainment industry – live broadcasting in particular.
Ashley Hanne: Because I was a member of Fox Sports U in college, I received an email directly from Fox when my current position opened at Fox Sports North. This allowed me to jump on the opportunity right away and send in my resume. Without Fox Sports U, I don’t know if I would be here today!
Sam Kandell: FOX Sports U is the reason I have the internship I have at FOX Sports right now. It has given me connections to sports professionals in the industry and a valuable experience. The class gave me my first taste of what the professional world of sports is like and the problems it faces.
Robert Dewitt: FOX Sports U was key to my pursuit of a career after college. It was a difference-maker in applying for my final summer internship, which then turned into my full-time role after graduation. FOX Sports U gives you as much as you want to put into it.