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Going for the Gold

Event management alum Jazmyn Patterson ’17 is helping create one of the biggest events in the world: the Olympics.

Attending the Olympics, Super Bowl or NCAA Final Four is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many sports fans.

For event management alum Jazmyn Patterson ’17, it’s a typical day at work.

Patterson is manager of travel experiences for On Location, an event management company that has worked with the NCAA, NFL, PGA and other sports leagues. On Location is now the official hospitality provider for the Summer 2024 Olympics and Paralympics in Paris, which are expected to draw 15 million spectators.

Patterson has worked four Super Bowls, a men’s Final Four and even non-sporting events such as the Cannes International Film Festival.

“For someone who’s interested in an events career, there’s something really special about planning an event ahead of time, thinking about things and seeing it all come to life,” she says. “People get to experience it and you almost watch it through their eyes.”

Her path to this role was born out of a passion for sports and travel, two pillars in her family, Patterson says. ESPN was on frequently in her house when she was growing up, and she had great memories of family trips.

These interests eventually led her to study at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, which ranks No. 1 in the nation and in the top five in the world, according to ShanghaiRanking.

The faculty at UCF supported Patterson in pursuing internships with UCF Athletics, the Orlando Magic and Orlando City Soccer Club, which helped her gain real-world experience, she says. Those lessons have served her well in her career and particularly on this new project.

Shifting Focus

During her six years in the industry, Patterson says she’s seen a shift in the consumer market focusing on experiences over material things as social media and content creation have grown — especially after the pandemic. Her goal at On Location is to provide guests the opportunity to not just attend an event, but to be a part of the action in a new way. An example is an on-field celebration for Super Bowl guests, complete with confetti.

For the Olympics, On Location will provide an experience for fans attending the Summer Games, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Hospitality suites such as Clubhouse 24 — located in the Palais de Tokyo and set against a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower — will provide guests a guaranteed ticket to the game of their choice, food and beverages, entertainment, special appearances, activities and more.

Global Takeover

While Patterson has worked at major events, the Olympics will be different because of the scope. The massive 19-day event features 10,000 athletes in 44 sports across 41 venues in Paris, 16 other cities across metropolitan France and Tahiti, a French Polynesian island. Coordinating travel for fans across these locations and events is no small task, and organizers expect 2 million visitors from outside France.

“[The job is] trying to take the hassle out of travel for [attendees so] they can just show up and have a good time and celebrate this moment with their friends and family,” she says.

The Game Plan

Before this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, visitors booked travel through local agencies in their home countries and coordinated transportation to the event on their own. This year, On Location is creating travel packages for fans, from hotels to transportation to Olympic events.

Since the early days of planning, which began in 2021, Patterson’s weeks have been full of meetings, data analysis and presentations, financial reviews and projections, in addition to creative work like content creation and on-site planning.

Iconic Sites

Through a partnership with Olympics and Paralympics stakeholders and local organizers, Patterson and her team are offering guests the chance to experience the best of the City of Lights. On Location is providing tours showcasing the local culture and passes to famous attractions like the Louvre Museum and other iconic venues.

“There’s an extra focus on highlighting the history [and] the beauty of our host cities, sharing the culture and experiencing a new part of the globe — on top of the games themselves,” she says.

Golden Moments

While planning for the event, Patterson has analyzed consumer trends, identified what the market is really looking for and worked to tailor On Location’s approach to ensure guests have a valuable experience. She has also gained new perspectives on planning, considering what people across different cultures want out of their experience — which is especially important for the Olympics.

“Everyone, regardless of where they’re from, can’t help but feel a bit more patriotic,” she says. “We can all get a bit swept away in the romance of representing [and cheering on] your home country, seeing your flag rising up and hearing your anthem played,” she says.