The Charlotte 49ers are joining forces with several leading sports organizations in the Charlotte area to offer enriching experiences for young people interested in the sports industry.
The first-ever Charlotte Difference Makers Sports Fellowship, in partnership with Sports Biz Camps, will be a nine-month professional development and leadership program for Charlotte area college students. Kicking off this summer, an inclusive cohort of 12 fellows will receive access, professional experience and mentorship across an unprecedented collection of community-minded sports companies.
"The Charlotte 49ers are proud to participate in this amazing program that demonstrates the power of collaboration in our great city,” said Mike Hill, 49ers director of athletics. “We are all committed to making a profound impact on the lives of young people, and providing this comprehensive opportunity for career exploration in the sports industry will do just that."
Leaders representing sports organizations in Charlotte collectively supported an effort around offering educational workplace experiences in the vibrant sports industry to students attending one of the nine local colleges and universities. They enlisted Charlotte-based Sports Biz Camps for its expertise and operational leadership.
Participating organizations in the Charlotte market include: 23XI Racing SPEED Institute, Bespoke Sports and Entertainment, Carolina Panthers, Charlotte 49ers, Charlotte FC, Charlotte Sports Foundation, Elevate Sports Ventures, Hornets Sports and Entertainment, NASCAR, RFK Racing, Sports Business Journal, and Truist.
Applications for an initial pilot program starting in May opened this month. To apply, visit: https://www.sportsbizcamps.com/differencemakers
"It was critical that we have the Charlotte 49ers as one of the founding partners of the Difference Makers Sports Fellowship,” said Abe Madkour, publisher and executive editor of Sports Business Journal. “Additionally, we look forward to having representation from their student body as part of the transformative work that this program will bring to the sports business community.”
To promote greater levels of equity and inclusion within the Charlotte sports industry, fellows will represent marginalized populations who historically have been underrepresented in leadership positions across sports.
“Seeing one of the state’s largest public colleges come alongside this work is really encouraging,” said Tim Clark, SVP and chief digital officer at NASCAR. “We can’t wait to see what these young people and student-athletes will achieve through this unique opportunity to get hands-on experience right here in Charlotte."
In addition to providing access and accommodations for participating students, each organization has pledged financial support to Sports Biz Camps, providing scholarships to fellows and fully funding all program and support costs.
“This fellowship will open up so many doors for our students and help them build social capital to last their careers and lives,” said Gerard Littlejohn, board chair at Sports Biz Camps.
Madkour stated, “Sports have always had the power to bring people together, and our region’s sports leaders have united to work together as a team to be real agents for change and provide unique opportunities for young people interested in getting hands-on experience in the dynamic world of sports.”