Sports have always played an integral role in Denise Seomin’s life.
“My dad played football for the University of Cincinnati,” says Denise, who fondly remembers watching sports together as among her most treasured memories growing up.
And while Denise once dreamt of being the first female Major League Baseball player (she idolized her beloved Cincinnati Reds), by the time she hit college, she realized that her passion outweighed her skill.
“So, I entered The Ohio State University, focusing on sports in a different way,” says Denise, who studied journalism and sports management, along the way serving as the football reporter for the college newspaper, The Lantern, and working in the school’s Sports Information Department.
Her combination of communication prowess and sports knowledge earned Denise the role of assistant athletic media relations director at Iowa State University in 1988, and eventually media relations director for Prime Network/Fox Sports Net in 1992.
“The next six years were a whirlwind of travel and excitement,” says Denise. “The travel, in fact, got me thinking about what else might be out there for me.”
In 1998, she found out when Princess Cruises presented an opportunity. She took on a role as the cruise line’s public relations manager.
“Yes, the job included cruises. About six a year, including my first chance to travel outside of the country, something I hadn’t yet experienced in sports,” says Denise, who notes Alaska and the Mediterranean as her favorite “work trips.”
Funny enough, it was all that traveling that eventually led to her move to Arizona.
“At the time, my parents had retired to Arizona, and though all the traveling and adventures were amazing, I really missed being around family, and wanted to live in the same state as them again. And, a part of me really missed the sports world, too,” says Denise, who found a way to get to Arizona and get back into sports courtesy of Best Western International.
In 2004, the chain based in the Valley was a major sponsor of NASCAR, so Denise took on a role that allowed her to assist on both sides of the partnership, loving the combination of hospitality and sports in her public relations days there.
“Shortly after moving to Arizona, I learned about the Fiesta Bowl,” says Denise. “Now, of course, I knew about the game, but I had no idea about everything else, and I wanted in.”
The “everything else” to which Denise is referring is all the community impact work the Fiesta Bowl does 365 days a year, well beyond the game. To give an idea, Fiesta Bowl Charities has given more than $15.5 million across Arizona in the last nine years, including $3 million this year alone.
“In 2007, I connected with The Phoenician. At the time, the general manager was heavily involved in the Fiesta Bowl,” says Denise, who took on the role of director of public relations for the AAA Five Diamond luxury resort and its boutique hotel, The Canyon Suites. “He helped pave the way for me to begin in both my role with the resort and my role with the Fiesta Bowl.”
She joined the Fiesta Bowl Committee in 2009-2010 when she was named the rookie of the year for her tireless dedication and volunteerism. Today, she serves on the organization’s board of directors and as a moderator for many of the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl game-week press conferences.
“It’s especially exciting this year as the Fiesta Bowl is one of the College Football Playoff’s semifinal games,” says Denise. “The only thing more exciting: the good we are going to do for thousands in need statewide as a result.”