When Briana Rossi ’08 first walked into her Marketing Manager job with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, she had very limited knowledge about football—but that turned out to be a good thing for her.
“I had to read Football for Dummies when I got this job,” she told Canterbury students during a Zoom talk in the School’s Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) class in sports management led by History and Social Sciences Teacher Misi Babington. “But I believe knowing nothing about football actually helped me. I was able to approach so many things with a new perspective. If you are creative and curious, you can learn, you can teach yourself, and if you’re smart and think differently, you are going to excel.”
With a background in publishing marketing, she pivoted from a job at Brides magazine to a position with one of the NFL’s most successful franchises. It was, according to Briana, a “huge swing” but absolutely the right move for the Saints graduate who held a journalism and marketing degree from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore. “I applaud you guys for signing up for a class like this at such a young age and learning what you can about sports marketing, sports management, and the world of sports,” she said. “It is the best place to work. It’s fun, competitive, exciting—there is no other job like it!”
Briana proceeded to tell the class why she finds the job so fulfilling, citing an example of how her marketing team helped turn one poignant moment—quarterback Josh Allen pointing to the sky honoring his recently deceased grandmother after a win—into an entire campaign that ended up supporting Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. “After the game, fans started donating $17 (Josh’s uniform number) in her name to Oishei, which Josh had aligned himself with as a charity. One fan started the movement, it got traction on social media, and the hospital received enough donations to name a wing at the hospital after his grandmother,” she shared.
Briana’s team followed up with a host of social media content and an event at training camp, as well as a partnership with Wegmans to create and sell tailgate sauces to benefit the hospital. “It was this perfect circle,” Briana continued. “We drove our social, we connected with young fans, we talked to people at training camp, and we helped business development with two partners, Wegmans and Oishei. It is a cause Josh is really proud of, and we did something great to support that.”
Briana's story was truly inspiring for students in the class, including senior Kiley McCooey ’23. “It was exciting to get an inside look at the marketing side of sports, especially from an alumna,” Kiley said. “Hearing how she got into marketing with the Bills helps young women like me realize that if we try our best and put our best foot forward, good things will come our way.”
At the end of the day, Briana said that perhaps the most important goal for her marketing team is engaging with fans. “We are very strategic about making sure that our fans know what we are up to,” she said. “Whether they are 65 and get The Buffalo News delivered every morning or 17 years old and follow every player on TikTok, they are all getting the information they need about the Bills, so everyone feels like a part of the family.”