This summer three Hobart and William Smith students have gained access behind the scenes and learned what it takes to work in the front office of not just one professional sporting franchise, but four.
Brian Cibelli ’08, Shannon Elliott ’09 and Lance Boyington ’09 are interning this summer with the Rochester Sports Group which runs four of the five professional sports teams in Rochester including the Rochester Rhinos (soccer), the Rochester Rattlers (outdoor lacrosse), the Rochester Americans (hockey) and the Rochester Knighthawks (indoor lacrosse). In addition, the Group also operates the Rochester Rhinos Women’s team which competes in the USL W-League, considered to be the top women’s league in the country.
Cibelli, an English major and Media and Society minor who plays forward for the Hobart hockey team, and Elliott, a double major in Media and Society and English, are interning in the public relations office at PAETEC Park in downtown Rochester, where the Rhinos teams and the Rattlers compete.
The two are responsible for a wide-range of duties including updating statistics, setting up community appearances for players, and writing press releases on player features, transactions, game reviews, media guides and weekend previews. In addition, they have had the opportunity to accompany players and act as press liaisons when players travel to area elementary schools to read to children and speak about healthy living. Cibelli even portrayed the American’s mascot, The Moose, at one of these appearances.
On game days, which typically fall on weekends, Cibelli and Elliott print media guide inserts, serve as intermediaries between referees and coaches on paperwork issues, create and update team newsletters, and write recap articles for team Web sites.
Boyington, an Economics major and Public Policy and Mathematics double-minor who plays free safety/cornerback for the Hobart football team, is interning in the finance department under the Rochester Sports Group’s Chief Financial Officer. He is involved in invoicing and payroll, including payroll for players and coaches whose statistical achievements on the field have an impact on bonuses. Boyington is also learning Quickbooks accounting software and is creating a budget plan that will maximize revenues and limit expenses.
Since most of the financial work is completed during business hours, Boyington’s game day responsibilities are to help with productions and promotions. Lately he has been tapped as the bodyguard of Rex the Rhino, the team’s mascot, enabling him to walk with Rex around the stadium as he entertains fans.
Whether they are interviewing a player, calculating that player’s bonus, dressing as a mascot or keeping an eye on that mascot, it’s unanimous: the three Hobart and William Smith students are really enjoying their summer experience.
“It’s exciting to work with the players and coaches and it’s definitely helped me realize what goes into public relations, particularly for sports, said Elliott. “No matter what type of public relations I choose to pursue, this internship has given me the fundamentals that I will need.”
Cibelli agrees. “It’s a great organization full of first-class people who make it easy to get acclimated to the job, he said. “I’ve always loved being around sports and I am definitely excited I found an opportunity like this that is putting me ahead of the curve. Not many people can say their internship allowed them to work for four different pro-sports teams in three different sports, but we will.
Boyington has come to a similar conclusion: “I am definitely enjoying the experience and it has been great to learn how the organization is run and the many things that go into the finances of a pro sports team, he said. “It has been a ton of fun on top of being able to learn a lot from very knowledgeable people here.