It’s easy to take the free t-shirts, halftime performances and musical chairs on the Charles Koch Arena basketball court for granted. But, during every Shocker Athletics game, a team of student marketing and game operations interns follows a carefully choreographed plan to make sure fans have a good time in between each play.
For the student interns, The Basketball Tournament (TBT), played by alumni from regional schools during July 25-28, worked similar to every other game.
The students ran social media accounts, and planned and executed all of the sponsored events and giveaways during breaks in the game.
Sport management sophomore Jackson Drake was working on booking half-time performances with local dance studios.
“There’s a lot of money involved, logistics, stuff like that,” Jackson said. “We bring it all together. It’s important to see that process, the role you play in it and how others play into it.”
marketing and game operations intern, Wichita State Athletics
They take their role seriously, and they care about taking care of the Shocker fan base. Sport management senior Connor Phelps has been an intern for two years.
“We want to showcase our fan base on a national level,” Connor said. “Several of the games will be televised on ESPN. We’re really working on the same thing, and we realize how important this is to the city of Wichita, to Wichita State Athletics and to former players who have been through here.”
Planning a tournament with an outside organization like TBT’s Aftershocks was new for the interns. Sport management freshman and intern Rachel DeTiennes was optimistic.
“I’m not 100 percent sure what to expect, but I’m excited,” Rachel said.
Usually, interns work on a volunteer basis. They work because they love what they do and because they need the experience in live sports environments.
“If you want to get into the sport industry, you have to have a lot of experience,” Connor said. “Students get their experiences doing things like this. They eventually want to move on to something else, and this serves as a stepping stone to get there.”
Interns and graduate assistants often obtain full-time jobs with other major universities like Georgia Tech. Brett McLaughlin, who earned his master’s in education for sport management in 2017, became director of athletic marketing for Emporia State University shortly after graduating.
“I am proud of our team and what they have accomplished from a marketing and brand strategizing perspective for Shocker Athletics,” said Reginald McIntyre, director of marketing and fan engagement for Shocker Athletics. “They work at a high level and that is evident when our students obtain full time jobs at other Division I programs.”
When the players leave the court and the music and activities begin, remember the hard work done by the students in the game operations team.