Forty Under 40: Broderick Hicks
Gatorade’s seminal “Be Like Mike” TV ad is a pillar on which Michael Jordan’s commercial persona was built. It also served as career entree for Broderick Hicks. As a 12-year-old basketball junkie, the ad was targeted squarely at Hicks. While it surely compelled him to drink more Gatorade, it also steered him toward sports marketing.
“‘Be Like Mike’ is still my favorite ad and that started my interest in the marketing side of sports,” Hicks said. “I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but I wanted to be involved.”
Vice President, Brands, Wasserman
Education: Wake Forest University, B.S., business, with a concentration in marketing
Family: Wife, Kelley; sons, Major (2); Locke (2 months)
You wish you knew 10 years ago: Accounts and programs will come and go, but genuine relationships endure.
Profession you’d most like to attempt: I would like to be a basketball coach. I think about some of the great coaches I played for, like Dave Odom and Skip Prosser, all the things I learned from them, and it would be a shame if I didn’t pass some of that on at some level.
Guilty pleasure: Marathons of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Something your friends would consider “so you”: Brunch, it could be anywhere. My dream job is to do a “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” for brunch.
Cause supported: Renaissance, NYC, an offshoot of my Harlem church that does a lot of community giveback.
Sports industry needs to do a better job of …: Diversity.
Hicks’ basketball talents earned him a scholarship to Wake Forest, where he earned a business degree with a marketing concentration. After playing pro hoops in Turkey, Hicks came home and networked his way to former Wasserman Vice Chairman Arn Tellem in 2006. T-Mobile, then a Wasserman client, had signed an NBA corporate sponsorship and was looking for expertise — that was Hicks’ way in.
Since then, he’s worked on Verizon, Pepsi and Microsoft, where he helped make Surface tablets a fixture on NFL sidelines. “Authentically innovating the game is what every tech brand wants,” he said. “As legal gambling becomes widespread, things like whether it’s a first down or where a punt went out of bounds, it won’t be acceptable just to have someone judging those when there’s technology to get it exactly right.’’
Hicks gets kudos both for his interpersonal skills and industry acumen.
“If we had any difficult client situations, he was the ideal guy to go in and reset,” said Vanderbilt Athletic Director Malcolm Turner, who worked with Hicks at Wasserman. “But beyond style, he delivers substance in spades.”
Hicks has now come full circle, working on AT&T. “We’re on the cusp of a 5G arms race,” he said. “That ability to pump out content in real time is exciting — it should allow us to do all kinds of new things, as far as activation.”