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York College Sport Management majors find a home with Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate

Jade Giantini and Bryan Sower both work at the Altoona Curve organization

Like many up and coming names in baseball, you could say Jade Giantini got her start during MLB’s Winter Meetings.

In 2016, she was one of about 20 students from York College of Pennsylvania who went to Washington, D.C., for the league’s premier off-season event.

“MLB’s winter meetings also have a job fair, so it’s like three to four days of networking, learning, and seeing what types of jobs are available,” says Jade, who graduated with a degree in Sport Management in 2017.

The experience opened her eyes to just how many job opportunities baseball has to offer.

Not long afterward, Jade applied for an internship with the Altoona Curve, the AA affiliate team of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

“They had me in the front office, but I got involved in a little bit of everything, from ticket sales to on-field activities,” she says.

Toward the close of her internship, the Curve offered Jade a spot in their full-time lineup.

“I’m their Manager of Partnership Services,” she says, “so I wear a lot of hats.”

Her role with the team includes sales for group plans, ticket sales, and sponsorship events, but she also helps with community relations as well as player appearances.

“Our job is to sell the entertainment,” Jade says. “We want to make sure people have fun while they’re with us.”

Two interns = a double play  

Bryan Sower, a 2018 York College graduate who also recently got a job with the Altoona Curve, never really considered a career in sports until a few years ago.

“I took a pretty weird path to Sport Management,” he says.

Bryan started his college career as a Business major at a community college but then transferred to York College focusing on Supply Chain studies.

“Turns out, I didn’t really like that,” says Bryan, “so I talked to my advisors, and I discovered Sport Management.”

One of Bryan’s professors, Nate Tile, is also the Director of Ticket sales for the York Revolution.

“I thought it was just trainers and coaching,” Bryans says, “but he really expanded my understanding of what Sport Management can be. I had no idea there was a business side to it: tickets, sponsorships, group sales. I like the selling part of it.”

Bryan found out about the Curve’s internship opportunity from another one of his professors, Dr. Molly Sauder.

Whenever she comes across openings or opportunities she feels are right for a student, she sends it on.

“Dr. Sauder emailed me about an internship with a baseball team,” Bryan says. “I had no idea where Altoona was, but once I found out what it was all about, I knew it was everything I wanted.”

As an intern for the Curve, Bryan met up with Jade and worked in day-to-day ticketing operations. 

“I know not everybody does, but in a strange way, I love sales,” he says. “I like talking to people.”

Like Jade, Bryan was offered a fulltime position with the team at the end of his internship.

“In May, I started as a Ticket Sales Representative,” he says, “so I service a list of accounts and am in charge of a specific territory.”

Smiling faces  

Game days can get pretty hectic. Jade says they run through a meeting in the morning to go over all the elements of the game and make sure they have what they need for each sponsored event.

“Our Meat Ball Race is pretty popular,” she says, “and so is our Hot Dog Shot, where we fling hot dogs into the crowd with a giant sling-shot.”

Jade says when they get on the field to run a promotion between innings, they’ve only got one job.

“We have to make sure we’ve all got smiles on our faces and spread that to the people in the stands,” she says. “It’s the team’s 20th season, so we get to know a lot of the season ticket holders, and it’s always fun seeing them.”

Sometimes they don’t have to work too hard at spreading smiles, like the day a special-needs fan was in the crowd.

“The inning ended, and one of his favorite songs started playing over the stadium speakers,” recalls Jade. “He popped right up and started dancing with a big, wide smile on his face. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me glad I’m doing this.”