Name: Mike Taylor
Job: Director, Team Marketing & Business Operations (TMBO)
Company: National Basketball Association
LinkedIn: Mike Taylor
In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
Detroit born and bred, consultant, servant-leader, grateful. A passion for the game of basketball mixed with a curiosity for business, plus hard work, faith and favor got me where I am today.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
I’m buying the impact social media is having on fan engagement and enhancing the sports viewing experience. These organic communities like #NBATwitter and the House of Highlights Instagram, where fans, journalists, even players are consuming games together, commenting on the latest news, highlights, pregame fashion, post-game quotes and more. This fan engagement not only helps the league stay relevant year-round, these social conversations also help drive television ratings as well.
How do you define creativity?
Exploring curiosity beyond the fear of failure; transcending traditional ideas through imagination…constantly asking, “Why? What if?”
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
A big part of my role is helping our teams grow their fanbase and drive attendance for all games. I’m proud that for the 4th consecutive season, the NBA set a record for overall attendance (over 22 million fans) and sellouts across the league.
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
We are constantly working on and thinking about the future of the fan experience. Innovation will be vital as teams are increasingly competing with the couch and other entertainment options for consumer attention. How we can leverage technology and insights to better understand our fans. How we can improve game-day through stadium enhancements, augmented and virtual reality, and unique fan experiences. How we can continue to evolve the traditional season ticket model to cater to a diverse set of fans seeking flexibility and access. What’s the future of premium seating and luxury suites? Our goal is to continue to challenge the status quo.
As a connected fan, what’s the best piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?
I’ve enjoyed a lot of the content Lebron James, Maverick Carter and their team has been producing lately. Most recently, the documentary Shut Up and Dribble that examines how basketball players are bringing about social change and using their platforms to speak out on the current political climate. It’s encouraging to see some of today’s athletes not just “stick to sports” as their critics might want them to, but instead are using sports as a bridge to bring people together and have an impact on society.
What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
Besides working in the game I’ve loved all my life, the biggest high is definitely in helping people accomplish their goals. It’s a great feeling to see that person you hired or mentored early in their career now thriving in this business. I’ve been lucky to work with fantastic people and have great mentors in my career and now it’s an honor and responsibility for me to hopefully be that resource for others.
The low is not seeing an abundance of diverse individuals at the highest levels of leadership across the industry. I’m optimistic this will improve, that we will see less nepotism and cronyism, making way for true talent and merits.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
I know this is a complicated and divisive issue, but I would like to see student athletes be able to leverage their likeness, secure endorsement deals and somehow share a bigger piece of the multi-billion dollar pie they generate for the NCAA. The value of a college scholarship is not lost on me, but with coaches’ salaries at an all-time high, rising ticket prices, and massive broadcast and sponsorship deals, I think there is an opportunity to revisit this debate.
What’s an example of one way in which MiS has positively impacted your career?
To be involved in such a great network of talented, ambitious individuals has definitely impacted my career. I’m constantly inspired and motivated by the hustle and accomplishments of the group. It’s such an asset to have a network of sports industry stars across the country that I can learn from, support and grow with. I appreciate the events and panel discussions curated by MiS that help members understand how to successfully navigate this industry. I’ve gained great insights on everything from resume and negotiation tips to content creation and the power of social media. I’m grateful for the work MiS does for the culture.
Get to know more members of the Hashtag Sports and MiS communities here.
Hear more from leaders and creators across the sports industry this June at Hashtag Sports, an annual conference designed for media and marketing professionals.