SBJ/20090323/Forty Under 40

Mike McCarley

Age: 35
Title: Senior vice president, marketing, promotion and communications
Company: NBC Universal Sports & Olympics
Education: B.A., University of Arizona
Family: Wife, Amy
Career: Athletic department and SID office, University of Arizona; media relations, Dallas Mavericks; communications and marketing, USA Triathlon.
Last vacation: South Africa
Favorite book: Whatever Im reading at the time
Favorite movie: Breaking Away
Whats on your iPod? Memphis Music, I have to stay true to my roots, and the Stones
Pet peeve: E-mail overkill
Greatest achievement: The last year has been pretty good.
Greatest disappointment: Im sure it hasnt happened yet.
Fantasy job: Pretty much anything on the beach
Executive you most admire: Anyone who actually makes a decent living on the beach
Business advice: Listen you cant learn anything when youre talking.

A few years ago, Mike McCarley approached his boss, Dick Ebersol, and told him that he was thinking about leaving NBC and going to business school. Ebersol frowned and said, “Stay here and get your MBA from me.”

NBC Universal Sports & Olympics

“I knew immediately from his frown that he thought that was a bad idea,” McCarley recalled.

True to his word, Ebersol promoted McCarley in August 2006, giving the executive oversight of the network’s sports advertising and promotion department.

McCarley responded with advertising and marketing campaigns unlike anything NBC had ever tried before, such as his “Sunday night is football night” tag line for “Sunday Night Football.”

“That’s an approach that we had never come close to doing before, to create a brand that was an integral part of the American mosaic,” said NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer. “There’s a palpable difference between what we were doing in the past and what we’re doing today. ... That’s largely through his enterprise.”

McCarley has been NBC Sports’ point person in spreading the division’s message across both NBC’s media properties and external advertisers.

For both the Olympics and the Super Bowl, that meant getting buy-in from NBC properties as diverse as MSNBC, Oxygen and “Access Hollywood,” and advertisers such as 7-Eleven and Anheuser-Busch.

NBC executives are convinced that this outreach brought more casual fans to both big events, which, in turn, led to record numbers of women viewers.

“Our promotion has to go to these casual fans and give them a reason to watch, and that’s what’s going to grow the audience,” McCarley said.

Back to 2009 Forty Under 40 list.

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