Behind the Cheers (Series)

Apr 30, 2023 – We are covering several Deltasigs' career successes and the diverse roles they play in connecting athletes to fans!

Since the days of the ancient Greek Olympics and Roman gladiators, people have been innately drawn to sports. We stand at rapt attention as we admire physical feats of speed, strength or endurance. The Super Bowl is annually the most-watched program on American TV, and it’s been reported that as many as five billion of the world’s eight billion inhabitants tuned in to watch last year’s World Cup. Yep, we love athletes.

However, in today’s highly competitive, hyperconnected world, legions of support are required to train and support sportspersons. Whether it entails poring over analytics that help players enhance their performance, cultivating sponsorships that provide financial support to collegiate athletic departments, or managing the digital assets that support disseminating sports-related content, numerous roles must be filled to support the business of sports. 

Here’s a look at one of several Deltasigs to helps connect fans to our favorite sports.

Jessica Valo, San Diego State (CA)
Event-Experience Manager for NASCAR's Southeast Region 

Jessica’s sports business experience has taken her across the country. While a collegiate, she interned with the San Diego State University athletic department, and later took a role with Fox Sports San Diego (now Bally Sports San Diego) and the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. These roles provided a broad range of experience with the presentation of sporting events, and she found that she gravitated toward event management.

Next, Jessica moved to Lexington, Ky. to take a position at Rupp Arena (notably, famed former University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp was a Deltasig), which is most famously a college-basketball mecca that’s home to the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Her role entailed managing non-Wildcat events, such as high school sporting events and concerts. The experience of attending to the many details of a successful game day experience prepared Jessica for her current role as the event-experience manager for NASCAR’s Southeast region.

In the position, Jessica is entrusted with making sure three of stock-car racing’s most iconic venues – Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway – are visitor- and sponsor friendly on race day.

This year’s Daytona 500 race, which occurred in February, marked the 65th running of the legendary event. So, Valo and her team sought to elevate fan excitement by coordinating additional fan photo-ops – typically a race has one or two pre-race event stages; the Daytona 500 features five – with racing legends and celebrities.

Jessica marveled at the passion of auto-racing fans. All of the raceways she supervises host more than 50,000 race day fans (Daytona accommodates over 100,000), and many of them arrive days early to camp and celebrate auto-racing fandom. NASCAR is unique in that it allows fans to walk down pit road up to an hour before the race, where drivers and crew chiefs are prepping for the impending race. Good luck getting access to a locker room prior to any other sporting event!

Jessica graduated in 2015 as a business administration-management major. She entered college eager to find students in the same “headspace” with the same goals. She said, “I appreciated the opportunity to get real-world experience of going through interviews, where I learned techniques that I still use today, and how to balance being professional and casual in my career. Another important lesson I learned as a Deltasig was how to read a room in a group setting and then communicate effectively.”

Check past news for more spotlights in this series!

  • Deltasig Spotlight