Photo courtesy of J. Andrew Towell
Planning themed game nights, organizing halftime entertainment, partnering with the girl scouts so they can sell cookies at Seattle Pacific University games — this is only a portion of the tasks done by SPU’s Fan Engagement Manager Stefanie Kosco.
“I look at the people and communities we have surrounding us and find ways to engage our season ticket holders and make a fun experience for them,” Kosco said. “You also have students who are spread out in age and have a short time at SPU, so trying to engage them as well and encouraging them to come back and enjoy these events even after they graduate.”
Kosco emphasizes the importance of having clear goals and ideas within her role, and then following it up by reaching out to contacts and coming up with promos, sponsors, and themes.
A Bellevue, WA native, Kosco graduated from Bellevue Christian High School knowing that she wanted to work in the world of sports. While in high school, she wanted to pursue a career in sports medicine and even took up an internship opportunity at Seattle University in the athletic training room.
Kosco furthered her education at SPU, studying exercise science to pursue a career as an athletic trainer and worked in the SPU athletic training room all four years. After graduation in 2014, she realized she did not want to be an athletic trainer, but still wanted to pursue a career in sports. She took a position for a hockey team for a little while until she went back to SPU to finish a one year business degree in 2016.
“Athletics is business these days. It’s very close to corporate America in some ways,” Kosco said.
She then worked at the University of Washington as an administration assistant to senior associate athletic directors, then in UW’s fundraising arm of the athletic department.
After working at UW for two years, Kosco came back to SPU, taking up the position as the fan engagement manager and will have officially held this position for one year in June.
She has successfully organized events this year like the National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration during the Feb. 8 women’s basketball game against Western Washington University and Giving Day, which was held in March.
To anybody who wants to work in fan engagement, Kosco says that, “there’s no one right route and that’s what makes it unique.”
She encourages people to be open, be willing to move to different locations and try new things, and also to find internships and take entry level positions.
“Athletics is hard work but incredibly rewarding. Know where your passion lies and then find an internship where you can learn a ton and then never stop until you get to where you want to be.”