The media arts and entertainment major was pulled on camera on Aug. 12, 2015, by television host Michelle Beadle, who presented him with a cake and called him “easily one of our top five interns in ‘SportsNation’ history.”
Entering the final day of his production internship with ESPN’s “SportsNation” television show, Matt Lee ’16 had an inclination the staff might commemorate his last episode – maybe with an on-air mention or an after-work cake. What he in fact received left the media arts and entertainment major nearly speechless, on national television no less.
At the conclusion of “SportsNation’s” Aug. 12, 2015, telecast, co-host Michelle Beadle summoned Lee, who was teleprompting off camera, on screen during the show’s “Winner Losers” segment. Under the headline “Today is Matt’s last day on SportsNation,” she presented him with a cake and a few kind words.
“Today is the final show for our summer intern, Matt. Easily one of our top five interns in ‘SportsNation’ history,” said Beadle, who then insisted he join her.
An astounded Lee walked toward the stage, holding his heart and blew a kiss to the cheering, jersey-wearing crowd. Once beside Beadle, he pretended to tear up at the sight of the cake and offered the words, “I’m just crying now.”
After co-host Max Kellerman gave Lee some good-natured ribbing, Beadle closed by saying, “Best of luck to you wherever it is … hopefully, maybe, you will end up back here.”
“I had a feeling they were going to do something, maybe give me a cake or at most mention my name, but I didn’t think they were going to show me on air,” recalled Lee. “Once I saw my name and heard Michelle talking about me, I was excited and very touched that they included me in the show. I mean how many national TV shows will highlight their interns with a whole segment? It’s something I will never forget.”
It will be one of many lasting ESPN memories, Lee said, noting that it was an honor to work with Beadle, Kellerman and fellow co-host Marcellus Wiley. “They are very down-to-earth and hardworking people,” Lee said of the trio. “What I admire most about them though is how genuine and kind they are to their fans. They really took me in and made me feel like a part of the team.”
There were several additional perks of the Lee’s internship, including an invite to the 2015 ESPYs award show and an offer to attend a private screening party of the film “Straight Outta Compton,” a event hosted by Wiley. ESPN also flew Lee to Bristol, Connecticut, to tour the company’s headquarters and Disney gave him a free pass to its parks and studios. “I mean ESPN/Disney is just a phenomenal place to work as an intern,” he said.
Lee explained that he’ll miss his “SportsNation” coworkers and fellow interns, who he had grown close with. He was part of a 30-member team, assisting with researching story ideas, editing video, working on social media, and handling studio production duties. He once served as an on-screen extra for a segment, so his farewell wasn’t his first time on camera.
“I will cherish the times I had with them because they all are really fun people to work with every day,” he said.
Lee was one of 60 students who participated in the university’s popular Elon in LA program this summer.