W.Va. college students head to Super Bowl
CHARLESTON (AP) — Like most people, Mary Beth Romine, a senior at the University of Charleston, has watched past Super Bowls on TV.
But for this Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII, Romine will be on the field, working behind the scenes, when the San Francisco 49ers play the Baltimore Ravens.
Romine and other UC sports administration majors will volunteer at the NFL Experience and a celebrity flag-football game, among other events at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
The NFL Experience is a temporary theme park that simulates various aspects of the game for the public during the week of the Super Bowl.
In addition, students will work with NFL on Location, a hospitality group dedicated to creating unique experiences for football fans.
"We're going to be learning different ways to host a community and how to train volunteers," Romine said. "We'll also be learning about signage and sponsorship deals and how they're activated at the Super Bowl."
Twenty-one students are making the trip, along with five faculty members and two alumni.
Romine, who is on the track and cross country teams at UC, has always loved sports, but she didn't realize until she got to college that she could make a living out of it.
"I never saw it as something I could do. I didn't realize all of the business aspects: community relations, marketing. When you work in sports, there are always going to be obstacles and something unexpected, but that's the exciting part," she said. "We learn in class what all it takes to create a sporting event like this, but we've never seen how it all fits together. We're all very excited to get this opportunity. It doesn't get any bigger than this."
Evan Seams, a sophomore, has always been an avid football fan. Following in the footsteps of his father, Seams played the game for most of his life.
"Football has been my whole life. When I realized there would be a time I couldn't play, I knew I still wanted to be in the business," he said.
While Seams is excited about going to the Super Bowl for the game, he knows he's going to be working, and he's OK with that.
"It's about the experience, first of all. The time we spend there is going to matter the most — seeing the management behind it and what's made it into the biggest event in the U.S.," he said. "Regardless, it's going to be fun. We're going to be learning how the Super Bowl was in the past, how it's come to be what it is now, and how it will change in the future."