The Denver Broncos Sports Management Institute is opening doors for students at Colorado State University to gain real-world experience and pursue opportunities in the sports industry.
Several students from the institute have internships with sports organizations, including the the Denver Broncos and Colorado Eagles.
Seniors Ashantai Ellis and Max Stanton are completing their internships with the Denver Broncos’ marketing and promotions team. They are two of the eight students in the CSU minor who are on the promotions team.
So far, Ellis’ favorite guest speaker in the program was Brooke Atkinson, an assistant basketball coach for the CSU women’s team.
“I found it inspiring that she was a woman who had succeeded in the collegiate sports industry, especially because in the past it was difficult for women to get their foot in the door in this industry,” Ellis said.
Faculty members and students say the institute provides students with expanded professional networks, internships and skills to succeed and thrive in the sports industry.
The promotions team executes special events and promotional activities at home games as well as community events to help market the Broncos to their target audiences. Responsibilities include event preparation, event set-up, sideline promotional activities and fan interaction activities. Interns also help the sponsors of the Broncos by running the sponsor’s game-day events and interactive booths.
When the Broncos have home games, the interns contribute to all elements of game-day operations. For instance, the interns set up and maintain the Broncos 7K and Broncos en Espanol.
Albert Bimper, director of the institute, wants students to think broadly about the opportunities in the industry of sport. While students in the institute like Ellis and Stanton intern for a professional sports team, students in the minor are also encouraged to broaden their horizons to other levels of sport.
“There are ways to get involved in not only professional sports but in collegiate athletics, high school athletics and community sport awareness,” said Bimper, an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Ethnic Studies.
Although Stanton and Ellis are working together in the same internship, they have very different career aspirations.
“I would like to market for a snowboarding or skiing company that I am passionate about,” Stanton said. “I’d like to work for a company that has strong values, and a mission statement that it truly lives by.”
Ellis would like to be a strength and conditioning coach for a Division I sports program.
“Everyone has a different path, and it’s inspiring to see how they’re going to reach their goals,” Ellis said.
The five principles for the minor are self-exploration, selfless leadership, character and integrity, inclusive excellence, and globalization. The institute also prides itself in focusing on educating students on matters of diversity and inclusion within the sports industry, and on how to further diversify the industry.
“We want students to move the industry of sport forward by preparing them with the knowledge and skills that they will need to be able to feel capable and compete within the industry,” Bimper said.
The Denver Broncos Sport Management Institute was introduced to the university in the fall of 2015. The minor currently has more than 80 students, and nearly two dozen students are participating in sports-related internships. For more information regarding the minor, visit http://broncosinstitute.colostate.edu/.