Las Vegas Going “All In” On Internship Experience

By encompassing two verticals of the sports industry, participants can gain valuable experience on a variety of levels.

UNLV and the Vegas Golden Knights have joined forces for an internship program. Photo via

For those looking to break into the sports industry, a common theme when seeking advice is to network, network, network and gain internship experience. The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) is taking that advice to heart with the launch of a two-year joint internship program with the newly established Vegas Golden Knights.

The internship program was announced recently with “the goal of supporting the development of UNLV undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in collegiate or professional sports,” according to the UNLV release.

While most undergraduate internships are usually a semester long, sometimes a year, this program is unique in that it is a two-year internship with the first spent in the college space (UNLV athletics department) and year two spent in the professional space (Vegas Golden Knights). By encompassing two verticals of the sports industry, participants can gain valuable experience on a variety of levels and gain insight from industry professionals.

The program was developed by UNLV Deputy Director of Athletics, Daryl Seibel, and Golden Knights Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer, Nehme Abouzeid. Seibel said:

“This partnership will allow students to gain practical, hands-on experience working first with our programs at UNLV Athletics, before gaining a different set of skills and experience working with a professional sports franchise. Students who complete this rigorous two-year program should have a significant advantage when they begin pursuing full-time career opportunities in sports.”

Starting out, students will be in the UNLV athletic marketing and athletics communications officers, where they will learn the ins-and-outs of each department in college athletics. Like many college athletics internships, students will be assigned certain sports to be in charge of, and assist at the home athletics events. While the initial focus of the internship (when at UNLV) will be on marketing a collegiate athletics program and manage game presentations on the marketing side, other avenues of college athletics are expected to be involved in the future.

After completing the year on the college side, select students will work with the marketing, communications and content departments for the Golden Knights. This experience will allow students to build on what they learned with the Rebels and apply it towards a professional environment.

With the competitive nature of breaking into the sports industry, the opportunity to gain valuable experience in both a college athletics department as well as a professional organization is fantastic — being able to learn the ins-and-outs of each organization’s departments, and the differences between the two, while still pursuing an undergraduate degree will make participants appealing candidates for full-time opportunities upon graduation.

With professional leagues looking to expand to Las Vegas, it will be interesting to monitor the future partnerships between area schools and said leagues.

The Oakland Raiders are planning to begin play in the “Sin City” as early as 2019, which gives the UNLV/Golden Knights partnership a couple seasons as a test run. Although the Raiders are not an expansion team, and will likely bring current staff along with them, if the current internship program is a success, it would be hard to imagine that both sides would be opposed to trying to work something out.

Obtaining an internship (both during and after undergrad) is an ultra-competitive process. By essentially completing two internships in one as a participant of this program, UNLV students will get a head start on developing a network to utilize during their professional careers as well as be at the forefront of the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season.

For more information on the internship program, including UNLV’s release, click here.

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