University of Southern California

Spring 2019 Winners

Fernando Stepensky

Fernando Stepensky

Fernando Stepensky is a May 2019 graduate of the University of Southern California where he double majored in Broadcast & Digital Journalism and Philosophy. He first began writing about sports when he was in middle school, and it has been a strong passion of his ever since. Among his internships, he worked with USC Athletics’ social media department and with FOX Sports West. Although his passion for sports remains strong, his overriding interests in law have led to his decision to attend law school in the fall of 2020. His favorite sport to play is tennis, and he supports his hometown San Diego teams, including the Clippers and Chargers even though they left town.

“Throughout the FOX Sports U program my teammates and I got the opportunity to collaborate and think outside the box. Given that I had just interned in the area our project was based in, I felt free to apply my knowledge and think of ways of bettering the systems I had worked on.”

“Before this program, my friends and I had always discussed innovative ways to improve the sports media landscape, but FOX Sports U helped us see just how tangible those changes were and the courses of action required to make them happen.”

“FOX Sports U further taught me how to take the inception of an idea, expand it, foresee issues, and outline a concrete plan to reach our goal that can then be presented to a large group of people.”

 

 

Corey Novick

Corey Novick

Corey Novick is a rising senior at the University of Southern California, majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Sports Media Industries. During his time at USC, Corey worked as a full-time student manager for the USC Football Team; coordinating practice and game logistics while serving as a liaison between coaches, players, and equipment staff. He was also an eSports research and production intern for the Minnesota Wild hockey team last year. He has continued with the Wild this summer, focusing on marketing and business development. Upon graduating, Corey will be pursuing a full-time role in corporate partnerships, business development, or marketing on the team / league side of the industry. Corey has a passion for competitive athletics no matter their popularity in the U.S., and is frequently fully engrossed in soccer, rugby, and curling when the major four sports are out of season.

“Fox Sports U encouraged us to explore the creative side of sports distribution, where I developed a Prep Zone student ambassador program to increase youth engagement in high school football.”

“Presenting in front of Fox Sports business executives and a like-minded class of my peers, gave me essential real-world experience that will be immediately useful after graduating.”

“Working with a topic as difficult as high school football provided our group with the opportunity to put our varying perspectives and ideas together for the common good of improving CIF Southern Section football coverage.”

 

 

Rachel Frain

Rachel Frain

Rachel Frain graduated from the University of Southern California in May of 2019 with a degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism. In her time at USC, she completed internships with USC Athletics, Athletes First, ESPN LA Radio, and The Golf Channel. During Rachel’s junior spring semester, she spent six weeks in South Korea working for NBC during the Winter Olympics. A few months later, she traveled with Professor Alan Abrahamson to Indonesia to report on the Asian Games. As a senior, Rachel served as the Director of Operations for the USC Beach Volleyball team, managing the departmental budget and managing day-to-day operations of the team. In July, Rachel will begin her career with the NFL as a Player Participation and Statistics Quality Assurance in New York. She hopes to have a long career in football operations. Outside of professional goals, Rachel hopes to continue hiking, camping, playing volleyball and golf.

“FOX Sports University gave us the opportunity to complete a case study worthy of management’s time. The problems we were solving were relevant and important to the company’s success.”

“Having the chance to present in front of FOX Sports representatives was a great test of our public speaking skills, analytical abilities, and creative prowess.”

“Programs like this are the shining moments of a college education.”

 

Colin Travaglini

Colin Travaglini

Colin Travaglini is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a minor in Sports Media Industries. During his time at USC, he developed an interest in sports marketing after working internships with USC Athletics and Wasserman Media Group. He aspires to continue working in sports to expand his skill set in hopes of one day creating his own sports media company. Colin has always had a passion for soccer, which continues to play an intricate role in his growth as an individual. He still plays, coaches, and watches some of his favorite clubs across the world, sharing his love for the game with everyone he meets.

“Fox Sports U brought our class a unique opportunity to learn about the high school sports media landscape and to be creative in our presented recommendations.”

“As a group, we synthesized ideas and came up with a few different programs that we felt would help Prep Zone increase viewership and fan engagement.”

“The individuals from Fox Sports who led our project were incredibly helpful in providing us with the support we needed to narrow down our ideas and optimize our efforts as a team.”

 

Nick Alfano

Nick Alfano

Nick Alfano recently graduated from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California with a Bachelors degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism. He will start his career in sports media at ESPN and hopes to promote quality storytelling while also learning about the business side of the sports industry. Nick enjoys visiting new places both domestically and internationally, and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

“The representatives at Fox Sports U believe that USC students have the power to innovate in sports broadcasting.”

“It was fascinating to study how high school football broadcasts can be enhanced to help reach the level of all other football productions.”

“It was a very rewarding process to interact with executives as a college student.”

 

Lisi Schauer

Lisi Schauer

Lisi Schauer is a junior at the University of Southern California who is majoring in Communication with a double minor in Sports Media Industries and Communication Design. She is currently performing internships in Marketing and Sports Information, both with the USC Athletic Department. While her favorite sport is baseball, she was inspired to pursue a career in the sports industry because of the community and collective excitement that all sports can provide. She aims to bring her creativity and design skills into her work.

“The Fox Sports U team provided us with great feedback as we were working on our presentation, and always made themselves available to answer our questions.”

“Researching with my team, as well as watching other groups present their own visions for Prep Zone, showed me that football can be just as exciting at the high school level.”

“This project made me think differently about the role that social media and fan engagement play in sports. Many of our group’s ideas were centered around making fans feel like they were seen and valued so that they would continue to engage with Prep Zone content.”

 

Brennen Lopez

Brennen Lopez

Brennen Lopez is entering his third year as an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism. He is currently majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Sports Media Industries. Brennen has aspirations to pursue a career in sports management and marketing primarily with the hopes of becoming an agent. An avid fan of football, he really appreciated the opportunity that was given by Fox Sports University to find ways to improve the streaming of high school football in Southern California.

“The Fox Sports U program allowed me to experience a real world presentation in which team collaboration and expansive research were essential. They ensured that my team and I were doing everything possible to not just have good ideas that met needs, but also having a plan of execution.”

“Before my experience with Fox Sports University, I never had a complete understanding of the sports media industry. However, after meeting FOX’s team and having the opportunity to visit their studios, I can happily say that they gave me an amazing opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the sports world as a whole.”

“Having the chance to not only present, but also be able to run through ideas with industry professionals was an extraordinary part of the assignment. Also, having the ability to work on a project that is very close to me (having played high school football) was certainly an unforgettable experience.”

 

 

Spring 2019 Project Description

USC students were challenged by FOX Sports University and FOX Sports West to develop a strategy for FOX Sports technology to be utilized and elevated to attract more viewers to FOX Sports West’s “Prep Zone” and high school sports broadcasts.

 

Professor Profile

Jeff Fellenzer

Jeff Fellenzer

Jeff Fellenzer has more than three decades of experience in sports media, sports management and education, and as an entrepreneur. He is a senior lecturer and full-time professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. His “Sports, Business, Media” class, which he has taught since 1999, averages between 150 and 175 students each semester. His newest class, “Sports and Media Technology,” focusing on the tech sector’s impact on sports, launched in fall 2014 in Wallis Annenberg Hall, USC’s new state-of-the-art communications and media center.

In a 2012 survey of students, “Sports, Business, Media” was voted the No. 4 most popular class at USC. In April 2014, Fellenzer was featured in Annenberg TV News’ series on “USC’s Most Inspirational Professors.”

Among the prominent sports figures Fellenzer has interviewed in his classes are: John Wooden, Jerry West, Bill Walton, Pete Carroll, Byron Scott, Al Michaels, Scott Boras, Keyshawn Johnson, Larry Scott, Ned Colletti, Pat Haden, Kevin Love, Jeanie Buss, George Raveling, Fred Claire, Casey Wasserman, Bill Plaschke, Lee Jenkins, Shelley Smith, Sam Cunningham, Jamaal Wilkes and World War II hero/U.S. Olympian Louie Zamperini (“Unbroken”). His “Weekly Wooden” segments are a tribute to the life lessons of his late friend, the Hall of Fame basketball coach and teacher, who was a three-time class guest.

Fellenzer has been a guest lecturer and moderator for sports business and communications events and panels at USC, UCLA, Caltech, the UC Berkeley School of Law, Pepperdine, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, University of San Francisco, Long Beach State and Southwestern Law School. He was a featured speaker in July 2015 at the inaugural Front Office Combine, held in conjunction with the NBA Summer League, on the subject of “Networking, Resume Writing and Interviewing,” and speaker/moderator at the inaugural NCAA Sports and Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles.

Fellenzer serves as faculty advisor for the school newspaper at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, where he also teaches a journalism skills class to high school freshmen and sophomores, and as faculty advisor of the USC Sports Business Assn.

Fellenzer has been a Heisman Trophy voter since 2007, one of only 43 in California and 925 nationally who have been invited to participate in the selection process for the most prestigious individual award in sports.

Fellenzer is a frequent media commentator on sports business issues, having made live, in-studio appearances on the KTLA-TV Channel 5 News in Los Angeles. He was a featured interviewee in ESPN’s recent “Trojan War” documentary, part of the network’s acclaimed “30 for 30” series.  Fellenzer also has been interviewed for ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” National Public Radio and KNX News Radio, and has been quoted in publications including Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Associated Press, Forbes.com and MSNBC.com.

Fellenzer also serves as a communications consultant for USC Athletics, working with athletes and coaches in developing social media awareness, understanding the media, brand building, media training and improving academic performance through his “Keys to Success in the Classroom” program.  He was a featured speaker at

Fellenzer developed and hosted his own hour-long sports TV interview show, “One on One,” for Charter Communications in Long Beach. In-studio guests included John Wooden, Tommy Lasorda, Pete Carroll, Scott Boras, Fred Claire, Dan Guerrero, Stan Morrison and Jim Lampley.

Fellenzer was the founder and president of the Pete Newell Challenge, a college basketball doubleheader held annually in the Bay Area from 1997 to 2006 that honored the late Hall of Fame coach and teacher. The event still holds the record for the largest crowd ever to see a college basketball game in California. On Dec. 21, 2000, a sellout crowd of 19,804 at The Arena in Oakland watched No. 3-ranked Stanford defeat No. 1-ranked and eventual national champion Duke, 84-83.

In February 2012, Fellenzer recruited, hosted and moderated an elite panel of Olympic broadcasters at the inaugural USC Olympics Conference: “Stories from the Booth: Broadcasters and the Games,” with Al Michaels, Jim Nantz and Jim Lampley.

Holder of undergraduate and graduate degrees from USC Annenberg, Fellenzer has served as an editor for several sports-related books, including: “Never Make the Same Mistake Once,” a tribute to the late USC baseball coach, Rod Dedeaux, by Robert Leach; “Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue,” an autobiography, and “Money Players” and “Go Pro Like a Pro,” both by Marc Isenberg.

Fellenzer is the immediate past president and current member of the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Education Foundation, and director/founder of the Spirit of Sue, a fund that offers financial assistance for arts-related programs in the Long Beach Unified School District, honoring his late mother, longtime Long Beach educator Sue Fellenzer. He is a frequent speaker and interviewer at the annual Most Inspiring Students Awards in Long Beach, and in November 2011 spoke on behalf of his friend Louie Zamperini at the annual U.S. Vets “Honoring Those Who Serve” luncheon.

Fellenzer worked as an editor/writer at the Los Angeles Times for almost eight years, writing a column on recruiting and serving as sports coordinator for the original L.A. Times Web site that became latimes.com…before leaving to launch the Pete Newell Challenge and start his own company, Innovative Sports Management.

An avid runner, patron of the arts and longtime supporter of the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre and Mark Taper Forum who officiated his second wedding ceremony in November 2015, Fellenzer is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, having appeared in two sports-related films: “Blue Chips” (1993), with Nick Nolte and Shaquille O’Neal, and “Cobb” (1994), with Tommy Lee Jones.

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