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Four Days in Philly

Falk College Students Enjoy ‘Extraordinary Opportunity’ on Immersion Trip
Nine female members of WISE-SPM club

Department of Sport Management students in the heart of historic Philadelphia. From left, Livia McQuade, Kate Hubbard, Brooke Siket, Charlotte Howland, Ashley Stewart, Allison Vilms, Erin Moore, Marni Nirenberg, and Jacqueline Dipaolo.

The city of Philadelphia is one of 12 cities that host teams in the “Big Four” major sports leagues in North America: the Phillies of Major League Baseball (MLB), the Eagles of the National Football League (NFL), the 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Also, the greater Philadelphia area has been the home of the Union of Major League Soccer (MLS) since 2010.

In addition, Philadelphia hosts numerous sporting events throughout the year, including collegiate events and international competitions at world-class venues such as Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field.

Over the course of four days in May, nine female students from Syracuse University’s Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics visited Philadelphia to meet with numerous sports organizations and more than 25 sport industry professionals. The meetings included executives from several sectors of the industry, including PlayFly Sports, Zelus Analytics, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Union, Leveling the Playing Field, Temple University Athletics, and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). The group also attended a Phillies’ game.

Jake and Suzanne Doft have sponsored the trip for the past three years in honor of their daughter, Class of 2022 Sport Management graduate Dara Doft.

The students on the trip included Jacqueline Dipaolo, Charlotte Howland, Kate Hubbard, Livia McQuade, Erin Moore, Marni Nirenberg, Brooke Siket, Ashley Stewart, and Allison Vilms. The students, all members of the Women in Sports and Events (WISE) Club from the Department of Sport Management, were accompanied by internship placement coordinator Beth Perez and Sport Analytics program coordinator Jackie Dorchester.

Livia McQuade at the stadium

Livia McQuade ’25

We asked McQuade ’25 to share her experiences and thoughts about the Philadelphia immersion trip, and this is what she wrote:

“This year’s WISE immersion trip to Philadelphia was nothing but extraordinary! We are so thankful for the incredible generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Jake and Suzanne Doft and their family for sponsoring this experience, and to the Department of Sport Management at Falk College and our two advisors, Beth Perez and Jackie Dorchester, for coordinating an amazing agenda.

“Our first day kicked off with an on-site visit to Playfly Sports, a sports marketing, technology, and media organization that supports brands, teams, and leagues. We gained a great perspective about mergers and acquisitions and the marrying of clients and brands, and topped off our visit by playing basketball on their indoor court.

“On day two, we headed to the Philly city limits to meet with the MLS team, the Philadelphia Union. A panel of Union executives gave us in-depth answers about both the Union’s and the league’s community-driven initiatives, as well as how they market themselves in a city that is both so passionate about, and saturated with, sports. We came away with great advice, and even snapped a picture at the corner of the pitch!

“After visiting the Union, we made our way back into the city to meet with a panel stacked with Philly-centric executives who represented Learn Fresh, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the MLBPA, and Zelus Analytics. With such a wide range of perspectives and sectors present, the group answered questions ranging from entrepreneurship, community relations, player performance technology, workplace dynamics, and even sports betting.

“To wrap up day two, we journeyed on a historic walking tour through Philadelphia, seeing everything from the Liberty Bell to Betsy Ross’ house to where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and even the ‘oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the United States.’ Our biggest takeaway: There wasn’t anything Ben Franklin couldn’t do.

“We kicked off day three by meeting with various individuals at Temple University, including the women that lead Temple athletics who gave their insight on NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) and how we can build communities with other women as we enter the industry. We then met with students from Temple’s Women in Sport and Recreation Management (WSRM) Club. It was an exciting and comforting experience to exchange ideas between the clubs and make new connections with aspiring industry leaders.

“In the afternoon, we toured Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Eagles. We saw the broadcasting suites, locker room (featuring the team’s Lombardi Trophy), press room, and the NFL’s first sensory room. They played the runout sequence (flashing lights, music, signs) as we walked through the team’s tunnel onto the field! Needless to say, it was a one-of-a-kind experience! On top of everything else, we learned about what goes on behind the scenes at an NFL venue. I task you to look up how much maintenance goes into just the grass at Lincoln Field.

“We wrapped up the day by attending a Phillies’ game. Our pregame activities consisted of a networking event with some of the Phillies’ powerhouse women in brand marketing, legal, graphic design, sponsorship, special events, broadcast technology, and retail marketing. They answered our questions, and we came away with new industry connections. When the game started, we made our way to our seats and met back up with the students from Temple’s WSRM Club to enjoy a great game against the New York Mets.

“On our last day, we had the privilege of meeting with Leveling the Playing Field (LPF), a non-profit that combats the barriers to sport by redistributing sports equipment to local teams and leagues in need at no cost. LPF was started by Syracuse alumnus Max Levitt ’11. The company has distributed $14 million of equipment and impacted more than 100,000 youth in sport.

“Our group loved meeting with LPF! We learned about their partnerships with the Philadelphia pro teams to collect equipment, the true difference they are making for youth teams and athletes, the life-changing impact they have on female athletes, and the sheer amount of equipment they have in their warehouse that is free for those in need.

“Our group is thankful for this experience, to all the industry professionals we spoke with, and for the incredible generosity of the Doft family. We recognize this was an extraordinary opportunity that will catapult us as we prepare for our careers in sport, and we will never forget it.”

Livia McQuade ’25 is a sport management major and a sport event management minor in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. She is executive vice president of the Sport Management Club and co-chair of the 2024 Charity Sports Auction. She’s currently a summer athlete relations intern for the Olympus Sports Group, where she’s assisting U.S. athletes before and during the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.