Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders: The SEEM Revolution in Experiential Learning

Contributors: Sean Baldwin, assistant professor and Jeff Longo, associate professor, College of Hospitality Management, Johnson & Wales University.

Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders: The SEEM Revolution in Experiential Learning Over the past two decades, the sports and entertainment industry has undergone a profound transformation. It’s no longer just about passively watching a game or attending a performance; it’s about immersive experiences. Everything from ticket purchasing to the way we watch live events has evolved rapidly, making the industry more dynamic and engaging than ever before.

Johnson & Wales’s SEEM (Sports, Entertainment and Event Management) faculty in the College of Hospitality Management are working tirelessly to stay on top of the curve, keeping up with trends and providing top-tier hands on learning experiences for students.

Elevating Discovery Beyond the Classroom
The Student Innovation Lab serves as a hub for entrepreneurship.

Unveiling JWU’s Strategy to Evaluate Tech & Digital Trends in SEEM

Daily classroom discussions, activities, and assignments in a JWU SEEM class include extensive discussion around the changing digital landscape such as OTT (over the top) streaming services and the ever-advancing broadcasting landscape. OTT refers to platforms that deliver video content over the internet, bypassing traditional cable, satellite, or broadcast television providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or Disney+.

Keeping up with the latest trends and focusing students’ attention on these innovations so that they may capitalize on opportunities is just one example of how JWU faculty are exposing students to the ever-changing landscape. In some classes, up to one third of class meetings involve some sort of industry professional participation, whether on a panel, as a guest speaker, or consulting on a term project etc.

A recent discussion in Jeff Longo’s SEEM class encouraged students to look at the landscape today and to go one step further. During the class Longo led conversations highlighting how the NFL Sunday Ticket recently doubled their subscriber base after moving from Direct TV to YouTube. Another discussion Longo provoked, directed students to evaluate how Amazon Prime gaining exclusive rights to Thursday night football will allow fans to make direct purchasing - imagine buying your favorite player’s jersey with one click as you hover above the icon while watching the player streak down the sidelines scoring the winning touchdown.

Longo summarized this discussion by sharing that these standalone broadcast opportunities allow brands to gain insights about and uniquely market to fans based on their behavioral tendencies, actions, and interests. “And to look even further into the future, just think about UGC (user generated content) and how that might allow fans to interact with players during halftime or pre and post-game. What comes to your mind when you think about this next frontier?”

JWU’s Bold Approach to Integrate Real-World SEEM Experiences in Education

Johnson & Wales faculty integrate the use of industry technology and programs that are being used daily by industry professionals in the field. As an example, the SEEM sponsorship class utilizes Sponsor United which uses exclusive data and insights to provide a comprehensive look at how brands and sports properties research, evaluate, develop and execute their sports, entertainment and media partnerships.

JWU students are also gaining professional certifications in venue management (International Association of Venue Managers), risk and event management (The Event U), and venue concessions alcohol training (TIPS) during their time at the university. These certifications provide students with enhanced knowledge in their courses, while also getting additional support from known industry leaders within SEEM through visiting guest speaker engagements, alumni panel discussions, career discovery forums and off-site company tours.

JWU SEEM Revolution
 Students come here to learn how to create business plans, asesses competitors and pitch to investores. 

JWU Elevating Discovery Beyond the Classroom

Whether it is high profile events like Panthers, Hornets, ACC football, NCAA basketball, NASCAR or the thousands of sports meetings held at the convention center, Charlotte is continuously hosting sports events that bring visitors to the city who spend money on hotels, restaurants, and rental cars. Johnson & Wales students have a front row seat when it comes to being exposed to nearly every aspect of the SEEM industry. JWU SEEM faculty take full advantage of the university’s prime Uptown location partnering with Visit Charlotte and other entities that bring in more than 200 sports events days per year into the region.

Charlotte is also home to a disproportionate (for our size) number of global sports & entertainment marketing agencies, like GMR, Bespoke, MKTG, Elevate, Navigate and Octagon whom JWU works with closely on projects and internship opportunities. While these properties may not themselves be household names, they are representing global brands like Levis and Proctor & Gamble as they partner with sports properties on programs worth billions of dollars like the Olympics, Superbowl, and Daytona 500.

JWU Students are also being made aware of the various opportunities outside of what might otherwise be the traditional impression of what working in the sports & entertainment industry might look like (sports agent/general manager or coach). By being exposed to a diverse group of professionals, students are building an awareness of the myriad of different roles in marketing, corporate social responsibility, broadcasting and broadcasting rights, corporate partnerships (sponsorships) and event and facility operations. “We’re opening our students up to a whole world of opportunities that they may not have envisioned for themselves otherwise,” shares Longo.

Unlocking the JWU Difference: Exploring the Unique Edge of SEEM Curriculum

“As JWU SEEM faculty we have decades of industry experience that have afforded us close and long-lasting relationships built on trust and respect,” shares Longo. “This positioning makes us uniquely qualified to provide access to SEEM professionals for our students. Additionally, this allows us to advocate for our students when competitive roles and opportunities become available. Our students have interned with and been employed by all the major players in town including NASCAR, Live Nation, the Charlotte Panthers, Charlotte FC, Charlotte Knights and Charlotte Checkers as well as several sports marketing agencies. We take pride in how we’re able to support our students by encouraging them to look beyond the traditional landscape to help them fulfill their SEEM career aspirations.”

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