Jan. 7—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — At just 22 years old, Alayna Moore has already earned internships with professional teams across western Pennsylvania through her passion for sports marketing.
Now, she's headed to the West Coast — and football's biggest game.
The 2018 Bishop McCort Catholic High School graduate is one of 30 college students or recent graduates who will work as interns at Super Bowl LVI in California through Kutztown-based Living Sport. The company works across the globe to connect college students with pro-level teams whose sports media and marketing departments are at the tops of their respective games.
"Getting a chance to be a part of the Super Bowl, it was something I've always dreamed of," said Moore, the daughter of Corey and Amy Moore, of Richland Township.
Moore said she has a friend who interned through Living Sport at last year's Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida. And when she spotted the opportunity to do the same at this year's game, she quickly applied. As it turns out, 1,000 other aspiring interns had the same idea.
But over the past 18 months, Moore has already spent time working in media relations for the Johnstown Tomahawks and Pittsburgh Penguins, the latter through an internship she completed in December.
She described it as an "amazing" introduction to the fast-paced business required to support an NHL team. That included helping during the Penguins' Media Day for the 2021-22 season and at game-day press conferences by compiling notes and game summaries.
When COVID-19 brought her plans to intern with the Pittsburgh Pirates to a halt in 2020, she reached out to the Tomahawks and has been working for Johnstown's North American Hockey League squad "pretty much ever since," first as an intern and now as a part-time employee on Director of Team Operations Derek Partsch's staff.
"When I found out she was applying for the Super Bowl (opportunity), I knew she was going to get it — because she's exactly what they are looking for," Partsch said.
He described Moore as a hard-working "ball of energy" who has the right attitude, aptitude and people skills to work in the hectic pro sports environment.
"She's been a Swiss Army knife for us — whatever you need, she'll do it," he said.
That became even more clear this fall when the team's office manager died of COVID-19, Partsch said. It took away not only a beloved coworker, but also someone vital to the Tomahawks' daily operations. It meant staff had to move outside their comfort zones at times to get tasks done — "and Alayna said, 'Yes,' anytime something was needed," he said.
"Whether it was selling tickets, dealing with media or ordering pre-game meals, she was always ready to help," Partsch said.
Moore said she and fellow Living Sport interns will be getting a broad Super Bowl experience, too. It'll likely include working on digital media and game-day presentations, as well as enhancing the fan experience, she said. With digital media, that'll likely mean interacting with the world by providing Super Bowl updates and other content through Instagram, Twitter and other popular social media.
The group will get to spend two full weeks in Los Angeles, seeing how professionals in their field work behind the scenes for organizations such as baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels.
"It's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience ... to get an inside view on how they do their jobs," Moore said.
The 30-member team of students also will create a video documenting their experience with Living Sport, she added.
Moore said she's worked hard in college and embraced every internship opportunity possible as she works toward her dream of becoming a public relations director for an NHL franchise.
"I think there's this belief that, if you're from a smaller town, you might not have the same opportunities as somebody else from a big city — but that's not the case," she said. "If you work hard and never lose sight of your dreams, I think you can make anything happen."