As a Communication student with a specialization in public relations, Molly Reff ’19 CLAS knows she wants to work in a fast-paced role—likely representing clients ranging from technology to healthcare to sports. In spring 2018, she worked with a team of students to create a comprehensive marketing campaign for FOX Sports’ BIG3 basketball, and now, her resume and experiences proves she’s prepared for the profession.
Molly is one of several students who have benefited from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ ongoing partnership with FOX Sports University. FOX Sports University is a nation-wide program that partners with prestigious academic and athletic departments to immerse its sports platforms into the academic realm at select universities. Individual classes partner with a FOX Sports line of business to address a marketing, research, technology or strategy challenge that the business faces. Students team up to create solutions, products or campaigns to tackle the specific business challenge.
“It was definitely nice to gain that real-world experience where we were able to put something on our resume, have a project we worked on and be able to build a really good relationship with the organization,” says Molly.
The Villanova and FOX Sports University partnership launched in fall of 2016 with the Media Audiences course, taught by Thomas Ksiazek, PhD, associate professor of Communication. In 2016, Dr. Ksiazek’s class was tasked with building an audience profile for FOX Sports GO—the company’s TV Everywhere, video streaming app—for the semester-long project. He was pleased to partner with FOX Sports again in spring 2018, and this time, the class was challenged to create a comprehensive marketing campaign to drive awareness and excitement for BIG3 Basketball.
“Taking a course like this has given me the chance to really break out of my comfort zone and learn about an area that I didn’t even know I was interested in,” Molly says, who had never done any sports marketing. “But I genuinely feel like I learned a lot.”
Villanova students not only gain resume-building experience through this partnership, but also valuable professional connections. FOX Sports recognizes the potential for hiring FOX Sports University alumni due to the students’ industry knowledge and experience working with the program. FOX Sports University views their partnerships as an opportunity for a semester-long interview.
“I’m really interested broadcast journalism,” says Colleen Knudsen ’19 CLAS, who also took the spring 2018 course. “Knowing that I have this connection to FOX and FOX Sports reminds me of the networking opportunities that I have.”