UCCS student uses connections to open stadium doors

Ryan at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles

They say in show business, it’s all about who you know. For Ryan Schulz, a current College of Business Sport Management student with an emphasis in stadium management, this is also true for sport management – especially in cities like L.A.

In mid-February, Schulz interned with the Stadium Managers Association for a week during their annual seminar/conference in Los Angeles, California at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood. Well over 100 students from across the country submitted applications for only six available slots. Schulz was one of those six.

The Stadium Managers Association internship required applicants to be members of their association, be at least 21 years of age, have graduated within the past year or be a student with junior, senior, or graduate student standing, a 2.5 minimum GPA, and a focus in stadium management or an industry related field. 

Schulz says he owes a great deal of gratitude to College of Business Instructor of Sport Management Jay Martyn and Director of Operations for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks Joel Currey for submitting his letters of recommendation.

“Both Dr. Martyn and Mr. Currey’s letters were absolutely fantastic and helped push my application to the top of the list,” Schulz said.

Schulz started his internship helping the conference prep for their Super Bowl party on Sunday, February 12. He was especially excited to witness some of the sport broadcasting technology in action.

“All of the TVs were completely weatherproof and designed to be in both indoor and outdoor settings,” he said. “The 55-inch television has the ability to stop a 90 MPH fastball and was put to the test several times over the course of the week.”

A majority of Schulz’s time was also spent at the hotel’s convention center, checking in attendees, taking notes during seminars and informational sessions, as well as networking with others there. Schulz’s internship offered a healthy balance of real-world experience and free time to enjoy L.A. Once the educational sessions ended, Schulz and his fellow interns spent time at Top Golf and took in the rides and sights at Universal Studios. Midway through his week, Schulz got a private tour and on-field experience at SoFi Stadium, which is home to the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers and can seat over 70,000 spectators.

“What I found the most enjoyable was being able to network with some of the highest-ranking people in American sports – they were so open to all the questions I had,” said Schulz. “My favorite role during the internship was checking in attendees because I was able to see right away which company the represented and opened up a dialogue that normally would be hard to get started.”

This internship was a door-opening experience for him.

“The networking opportunities were amazing! I was able to network with people from the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos and so many more,” he said. “I was also able to meet with several vendors who supply stadiums and teams with uniforms, security, and field coverings.”

When reflecting on how this internship and the College of Business Sport Management program has prepared him for success, Schulz believes it all comes down to connections.

“If there is one thing that has really stuck with me in all of my sport management classes, it is who you know and who knows you that will get you in the door, and what you can do with the opportunities those connections provide,” he said. “The professors in the UCCS Sport Management Program have given me the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and make incredible connections. Without the support of Dr. Martyn I would not have been able to have this amazing opportunity to intern with the Stadium Managers Association.”

With the knowledge he has gained in classes and through his internship experiences, Schulz feels his future in sport management is as bright as the Hollywood lights – all of which has led him to an upcoming summer internship with the Seattle Mariners.

“I would recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to apply for this internship to do so, it will open doors for you that normally be closed. You will be able to put yourself and your work ethic in front of some of the most influential people in sports, and who knows, it may just translate into a job or another internship opportunity like it did for me,” said Schulz.