KENNESAW, Ga. | May 6, 2021
Every morning, Zach Bazemore’s commute takes him to the base of Allegiant Stadium, the NFL’s newest coliseum and state-of-the-art home to the Las Vegas Raiders.
An operations coordinator at the stadium, Bazemore secured his position in the highly competitive sports industry immediately after graduating from Kennesaw State University with a sport management degree last year. The job grants him a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the preparation for NFL games and other events hosted by stadiums nationwide. While it may seem routine, he said it tends to be anything but.
“The cool thing about this job is that there’s not a typical day,” said Bazemore, who recalled being awestruck the first time he saw the stadium. “I could come in one day with a to-do list of things I want to get done, and one radio call makes everything go out the window. That’s just the nature of operations and that’s what makes this job attractive – that no two days are the same.”
Bazemore credits his successful job hunt to the skills he acquired at Kennesaw State, particularly his experience working with KSU’s Night Owl program, a student-led organization that provides hands-on experience in event service, maintenance and hospitality. His experience caught the eye of company executives who were interested to know how Night Owl exposed him to situations that could be useful working in operations.
While the coronavirus pandemic has altered some aspects of game day operations at the stadium, Bazemore’s role gives him the flexibility to prepare for a multitude of events ranging from Raiders and UNLV football games to private corporate events. He assists the stadium’s engineering, maintenance and operations teams in order to carry out procedures such as contract work, inventory management and scheduling, among other things. On game day, he sits in the stadium’s press box in the Gameday Operations Command dispatch room, communicating with the operations and engineering teams and dispatching different groups to meet requests.
Much like the professionals, students involved in Night Owl work on conversion, the process of switching stadiums to accommodate different events. Bazemore’s role in the conversion department during his senior year gave him experience he uses almost every day at Allegiant Stadium.
While working at Night Owl, Bazemore assisted with numerous events, including KSU football, soccer and lacrosse games, homecoming concerts and commencement ceremonies. He also assisted with Owl-o-Ween, a hot air balloon festival where Bazemore completed a 13-hour overnight shift in which he helped convert Fifth Third Bank Stadium from the festival setup on Saturday to a KSU women’s soccer game Sunday morning.
“At my age, experience in the sports industry is hard to come by,” said Bazemore. “Graduating with a sport management degree with the background and experience I had with Night Owl was super helpful because the businesses made it seem like the other applicants didn’t have the same experience that Night Owl offered me. Seeing the stadium everyday will never get old. I work at the coolest office in the world, and I am extremely thankful for that.”
– Josh Milton
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.