LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Inside the UFC Apex off Jones and Sunset, six college students are halfway into their new internship to help bring the largest media event in the world to Las Vegas.
It’s a partnership with the NFL Foundation, United Way of Southern Nevada, and UNLV Sports Innovation: the Las Vegas Super Bowl LVIII Host Committee Internship Program. The three organizations collectively fund the program with $300,000 grants.
Content creating, writing, and event planning are a few examples of the tasks assigned to this round of interns. The program’s website says “hands-on experience in operations, sales, philanthropy, logistics, marketing, and communications” are offered.
Those offerings piqued the interest of students Marley Salveter and Cheyne Sauceda, both currently working towards their master’s degrees at UNLV and holding passions in sports, social media, and communications.
“I’m assigned various tasks, whether that’s clipping media from our various events, attending familiarization events at Allegiant Stadium,” Salveter said inside the host committee’s office Wednesday morning. “It’s always different, I think that’s why it’s so exciting. The opportunities vary, and that’s the nature of sports and entertainment.”
“We get to work a lot with our social media platforms. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok just got up and running,” Sauceda said. “We have a lot of creative liberty with some of our smaller platforms that we’re able to just bring our ideas to our superiors.”
Just under a year away from Las Vegas’ first Super Bowl, these students have sat in on operation meetings, shaken hands with NFL and Las Vegas Resort executives, and assisted international media looking to report on the event.
Plus, they’re getting paid to do it, says UNLV Sports Innovation COO Jay Vickers.
“There’s never been a fully paid internship throughout the entire planning process of a Super Bowl,” Vickers said outside the office Wednesday morning. “Part of our mission is to have a direct impact on our community, direct impact with our students, and put our students in a position where they know they can be successful.”
He says by paying interns, these students can more effectively balance school with a job that directly correlates, rather than having an additional job to make ends meet while working an unpaid internship relevant to the degree they’re pursuing.
And, the timing couldn’t be better, the COO says.
“We’re going through a sports renaissance,” Vickers said. “Not only is our city changing what fan engagement looks like, (but also) what entertainment means in sports. The best way to really do that is to combine that with the efforts of higher ed.”
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity these interns call a touchdown.
“It’s amazing to see so many women in this building doing what I want to be doing, and it’s really broadened my horizons and opened my eyes to different positions that I could hopefully one day be in,” Sauceda said.
“It is also something that I can go to various companies and just my friends and family and say ‘hey, guess what? I got to work on the Super Bowl. You guys didn’t,’” Salveter said with a laugh. “It’s not just the Super Bowl. It’s really, truly an investment.”
Vickers adds roughly 45 UNLV students will be chosen for this opportunity through next year’s game on February 11, 2024. 15 positions in the summer and another 15 in the fall will become available through the Handshake database through UNLV, he says. Each one runs five months long.