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Cassidy Sampson: From Fan to Front Office

(photo credit: Cassidy Sampson)

Cassidy Sampson grew up attending Indianapolis Colts games with her grandparents. Little did she know that one day she would be working for them. Now, as the Colts’ Marketing and Licensing Coordinator, Sampson took me through parts of her journey into the world of sports and gave me a closer look into what makes up the marketing and licensing department of an NFL team.

Sampson graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management in December 2020 before accepting a position with the Indianapolis Colts. Starting off as a Social Media/Digital Intern, she worked closely with the Cheer team to produce their social media content. Sampson started the Colts Cheer team Tik Tok account and even made a video that racked up over 14.3 million views. The viral video was picked up by ESPN and Sportsnet and even started a trend for other NFL cheer teams.

“My job is pretty new. It was actually created about 2 years ago right after my internship with the Colts,” Sampson said. 

As the Marketing and Licensing Coordinator, Sampson’s role comes with many responsibilities. 

“So my job has a lot of different buckets that it falls into and its sometimes a bit of a catch all but a few of the spaces that I work in are influencer and celebrity marketing, premium products so that's like game day giveaways or anything with the colts logo on it,” Sampson said. “And then working in the licensing space too. We deal with our pro shop or any other premium products that we’re giving away. A lot of general marketing campaigns so a lot of those have to deal with some of the events the colts are putting on whether it's game day or away game watch parties.”

Sampson also works a lot with the Colts’ affinity clubs. Such as the Blues Club, which is for kids, and their female club, the Blue Ladies. On gamedays, a lot of what she does gets done before kickoff. 

“The start of the game and right before it I help with our giveaway so what we give at the gates and that's a different premium product every game. So I help create those with our vendors and then staff the volunteer committee that passes them out on gameday and then most of my game day is working with influencers that we’re bringing in either to promote the game day experience or that work with our mascot Blue and his kids and kind of show them the premium game day experience so I'm doing a lot of pregame sideline visits and photo opps and things like that and I’m coordinating their arrivals.”

If you are a fan of the Colts or the NFL in general, you might have heard about the striking of the anvil prior to kickoff. Sampson says that it is one of the biggest parts of her game day job. 

For the Colts that means bringing in either a celebrity, a Colts alumni, a basketball star from the Pacers or any other local athletes and they kind of do a ceremonial striking of the anvil.” This year alone they have had some pretty cool names. “We had Pat Mcafee do it for our home opener, Tyrese Haliburton, a lot of race car drivers with the Indianapolis market being so heavy in that area and some local alumni and other people like that.”

Sampson’s job also includes working with fans, which has led to a lot of memorable moments.  

When asked about the most rewarding part of her job Sampson had this to say, “I would just say for me I get a really close hand with our fans and its really cool to see you know the work of my team impacting people's lives and just like whether its in an entertainment side or an experience”.

The smallest piece of advice can go a long way. When I asked Sampson if she had any advice she would give to young girls wanting to get into the sports industry, she left me with this. 

“Be confident in who you are and in your story. Let your differences and what makes you unique shine through. I think a lot of the time we try to fit into the mold of what we think people want to see us as or what they want to hear in an interview,” Sampson said. “Everyone is unique and everyone has a different story and background for a reason and you can bring so much to the table that can break those molds and challenge beliefs. Really knowing yourself and knowing what sets you apart and what makes you unique.”

In other words, use what makes you different to your advantage.

Editor: Soleil Dam

Content Creator: Jenna Falkenheim

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