BOASTS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL JOBS IN SPORTS
By Jayme Lamm
IT’S 2015 – A WOMAN WORKING IN SPORTS ISN’T SO RARE ANYMORE. TO BE A WOMAN ASSIGNED ONE OF THE BIGGEST JOBS IN ALL OF SPORTS, NOW THAT IS RARE.
MEET SALLIE SARGENT, THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE SUPER BOWL HOST COMMITTEE FOR SUPER BOWL LI to be held at NRG Stadium in FEBRUARY 2017. Sargent comes to the table with more than 28 years of sports marketing and special event management experience. Her job is all encompassing; she is responsible for managing all logistical components leading up to the game including sponsorship, hospitality, volunteers, security and fan events. Her job involves keeping everyone happy, including locals, visitors and don’t forget city officials. Oh, and the NFL!
When it comes to Sargent’s actual job description and lengthy to-do list, she laughs. “The NFL doesn’t just give you a template – you have to create it,” she says. Which is where her almost three decades of knowledge will come into play. Although she’s worked on five different Super Bowls, this will be Sargent’s first time seeing it from the bid process (2012) all the way through to execution (2017). No pressure. “My job is to touch every aspect of anything and everything associated with the Super Bowl with two exceptions: I don’t have anything to do with the [actual] game and I don’t have anything to do with the halftime entertainment,” Sargent explains. Everything else is in her capable hands or in the hands of the team she selects to help make it all happen.
“The challenge that is most paramount in my mind is the traffic – traffic management and transportation – making sure we do a really good job of having kind of a marriage of public and private transportation options. I think that is the key for us to be successful,” she says. Originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, Sargent now calls Houston home. With only two years to learn all the ins and outs of her new home, you better believe she’s digging her heels in. Literally. “I’ve discovered this city is almost a hidden jewel. The people here are so proud of their city and community. My goal is to make sure the rest of the country and the rest of the world knows what we know about Houston, which is it’s a great place to live, to work, to come and visit, to shop and to eat,” Sargent says, noting the James Beard Awards in Houston. The Super Bowl is a huge stage for any city and their residents to showcase all the amazing things that make it what it is, and Sargent says her end result is to “make Houston shine during 2017.” When it comes to everything that goes into planning out a game as big as the Super Bowl, Sargent simply says, “It takes a village.”
Sargent’s extensive résumé includes previous Super Bowls, college bowl games, the NBA All-Star Game, MLB’s Charity Gala, the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the 2008 Republican Convention and a myriad of other large-scale entertainment events.