When Savannah Giddings, School of Kinesiology senior, transferred to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in fall 2018, she had only one thing on her mind—the sport management program. According to Giddings, there are not many well-regarded undergraduate programs specifically tailored toward a sport management degree.
Born in Davis Junction, IL, a farm town just outside of Chicago, Giddings knew she wanted to study in a large city in order to increase her career opportunities. “The Twin-Cities is a great market for sports as it’s home to every professional sport, which allowed me to jump right into the field,” says Giddings. After declaring her major, she applied to work as a summer stadium operations intern for the Hub City Hotshots baseball team out of Aberdeen, SD. Although the Hotshots are a small team, Giddings had the freedom to try everything: “I worked grueling hours—typically 100-hour weeks—but the experience and relationships built were worth every second.”
Currently, Giddings is a fan relations intern for the Minnesota Wild, where she assists season ticket holders as the purchasing process transitions to digital. The position requires a lot of interpersonal and customer service skills, which she finds invaluable in all of her work. “U of M alumni connections helped me get this internship, and networking is crucial for anyone interested in the sports industry.” As an avid hockey fan, Giddings also volunteered for the Gopher Women’s Hockey team, helping with communications and social media.
On top of her other jobs, volunteer responsibilities, and a 20-credit academic load, Giddings was also a Gopher Sports Marketing intern for Gopher Football and a lead intern for Gopher Men’s Hockey. During hockey gamedays, Giddings led on-ice activities, as well as ran promotional giveaways and events. “I’m all over the arena because each game forces you to be all hands on deck and ready to face any and every challenge.” What Giddings enjoys most about sports is the fan interactions, understanding what draws viewers to the games, and how she can keep fans engaged. “If I can do anything in my power to ensure people are interested and coming back to the games, I will go out of my way to help. Finding solutions to obstacles is one of the most exciting parts of the industry.”
What’s next for Giddings post-graduation this spring? “I love hockey. In the future, I see myself in Montréal, Canada working for a professional hockey team in the marketing department. Above all, I want to be working with and for people.” As Giddings moves onto her next step, she credits all the mentors and staff she worked with throughout her college career. The connections she has developed have been instrumental to her personal and professional success at the U of M and beyond.