Ellie Perrigo at Super Bowl LVI, played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Photo courtesy Ellie Perrigo

‘Super’ experience propels student on a career path

Ellie Perrigo at Super Bowl LVI, played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Photo: Courtesy of Ellie Perrigo
By Jenny Hudak

Ellie Perrigo at Super Bowl LVI, played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Photo: Courtesy of Ellie Perrigo

‘Super’ experience propels student on a career path

By Jenny Hudak
Ellie Perrigo, a senior at the University of Miami, has built a repertoire as an intern and production runner for two Super Bowl games. Now, she has set her sights on working for an NFL team.

As confetti fell at SoFi Stadium, where the Los Angeles Rams were crowned champions of Super Bowl LVI, Ellie Perrigo stood on the sidelines in awe. Football fans across the nation marvel at the thought of one day attending a Super Bowl matchup. 

Perrigo, a senior at the University of Miami, reveled in the fact that this was not her first, but second, opportunity to attend—and work—a Super Bowl.

It started in 2020 when Super Bowl LIV was hosted at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Perrigo, who is studying communications and sport administration, received a text message from a former classmate and University alumna with a simple question. 

“It said ‘Do you want to work the Super Bowl?’ ” Perrigo recalled. ESPN was looking for local production runners for the football game in Miami. With little understanding of what the job would entail, Perrigo promptly replied, “Sign me up.” 

And so, she showed up for the event a few days later. Her job as a production runner involved two days’ worth of menial tasks—handling scripts, running errands, and chauffeuring ESPN broadcast reporters around Miami. Perrigo got a behind-the-scenes look at the broadcast and event operations for the mega television production, and it sparked a new interest. 

As Super Bowl LIV came to a close in South Florida, Perrigo knew she had found her niche. Eager to continue on a career path in sports events, she relentlessly reached out to her network. Perrigo applied for a slew of internships and jobs, landing her the opportunity to work as an events intern with the Kansas City Chiefs and a production runner for a Monday Night Football matchup in Tampa, Florida. Her drive and consistent work ethic impressed those around her quickly. 

And, when Perrigo was almost done with her duties as a production runner in Tampa, her supervisor, who had worked with her previously at Super Bowl LIV, chased her down—literally. 

“I remember her actually running after me as I started to leave,” she remembered. “I started to panic, thinking something bad had happened.” Impressed by Perrigo’s ambition, her supervisor asked if she would be interested in staffing another Super Bowl. Perrigo jumped at the opportunity. 

Before she knew it, the senior was on a flight across the country to spend a week in Inglewood, California, preparing to be a production runner for her second Super Bowl in just three years. This time, she carried a bit of experience in her back pocket. 

“I had no idea what to expect at this Super Bowl,” she said. “I was assigned a lot more responsibility the second time around, which felt like I was making progress in my work.” Building on her previous experiences, Perrigo was assigned to manage all of ESPN’s access credentials for the event week.

These opportunities, Perrigo pointed out, opened a new door to a budding career. 

“Once I wrapped up my internship and Super Bowl experiences, it helped me realize that I had a future in event planning and logistics,” she revealed. “For the first time, I felt like I was finally on a track. I knew what I wanted to do and what excited me.” 

Now in her final semester as a student at the University, Perrigo reflected on how far she has come on her career path. When she arrived in Miami as a first-year student from Charlotte, North Carolina, Perrigo didn’t know what she wanted to pursue. 

“Before any of these job experiences, I felt really lost,” she acknowledged. “I was jumping at any opportunity I found to figure out what I liked.” Perrigo noted that the support and mentorship of her classmates and professors have helped build her confidence in her capabilities as she continues to pursue a career in what is sometimes labeled as a cutthroat industry. 

“It never surprises me when a student like Ellie, who is proactive in trying to meet with me after class and has a hunger to work in this industry, succeeds,” said Paul Resnick, senior lecturer and internship director for the School of Education and Human Development’s sport administration program. “There’s no motivation needed for her. She is committed to wanting to succeed and aggressive in pursuing these opportunities. I saw that from the first time I met with her.” 

Resnick noted the significance of students in the sports industry getting experience early, especially through internships, to help build successful networks for their futures. 

As she prepares to graduate, Perrigo draws from her experiences as a student and as an intern to pursue her aspiration to work for an NFL team. 

“I wouldn’t have gotten my first internship if it wasn’t for Paul Resnick or my opportunity at the Super Bowl if it wasn’t for my classmate,” Perrigo said. “UM has given me everything I needed to succeed. The community is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”