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Published March 23, 2009
AÂ 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.”
“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.