Anika Riley

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Walking into a sporting event comes with many visual and auditory experiences, from the ticket that is scanned to the replays fans see on the scoreboard monitor.

Everyday, the Winthrop University athletic communications team prepares almost everything fans see, by promoting the school’s teams and athletes, often with very little recognition.

“I handle their press releases, schedule updates, roster changes, I write their recaps, their previews; all the statistical information for each team, and I serve as the liaison between teams and the media,” said Alyssa Sconzo, assistant communications director for the Winthrop athletics department.

Sconzo said most of her day to day responsibilities are constantly changing, because of short staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These days with COVID we don’t have a ton of marketing and promotions to go off of, but in a normal situation I’d be setting up halftime events and stuff before and after games. This spring we have every sport playing at once, so my day to day changes every single day,” said Sconzo.

She also said she lends a hand with social media and marketing.

Sconzo — who is the main contact for volleyball, women’s basketball, lacrosse and cross country — said the best part of the job is working with the athletes and getting to know them outside of their sport.

Pete Powers, director of creative content and production for Winthrop athletics, said he works daily with Sconzo, shooting video and producing social media content.

Powers works to get the visuals of an event or interview, in order to share stories about Winthrop athletes with fans.

“A lot of times (Sconzo) will do interviews and things and I’m the one that’s kind of working with her to write the questions, write the script and Alyssa does a great job of adding things to it,” said Powers.

Lauren Lowitt, creative content production coordinator for Winthrop athletics, described Sconzo as an artist, painting a picture for fans to see.

“What (Sconzo) does, she kind of paints the story of what’s happening. She is the Picasso of the university, really where she just kind of tells you what happened if you weren’t there and she will paint a beautiful picture of the game,” said Lowitt.

She said she often works with Sconzo to create graphics or videos about the athletes, which will be posted on the athletic department’s social media accounts.

“My job is to make (the) work look really eye-catching and bold on social media. Each week we just kind of go over everything. Anything from copy for social media, captions, what to post on Instagram, what times and having a different strategy for each sport each week,” said Lowitt.

As a result, members of the athletic communications staff, just like the athletes, look forward to game day as a time when all the hard work pays off.

“Working behind the scenes on game day is definitely the most fun part of the job, whether it be the broadcast side of things and preparing and getting ready for the game,” said Powers. “Just the game itself; running social media, doing things of that nature, that’s really the most fun part of the job.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic has halted athletic activity and kept fans from attending events, the athletic communications team continues to work through unforeseen circumstances day-to-day to promote Winthrop athletes, tell their stories and help give fans the best experience possible.


Editor’s note: Anika Riley, a senior mass communication major from Charlotte, is a member of the women’s basketball team.