- Executive Vice President,
Chief Marketing Officer
Michael McCullough’s role with the Miami HEAT could best be described as the “brand architect” for the club. Viewed as an extremely versatile and well-respected senior NBA business executive, he sports a 32-year track record of establishing new benchmarks and best practices for sports marketing and fan engagement while producing highly effective marketing, branding and results-oriented corporate partnership programs. McCullough oversees the Branding / Advertising / Promotion, Social Media, Retail Operations and E-Commerce, Broadcasting, Creative Design, Content Generation and Monetization, Game Operations and Events, Social Responsibility, Business Strategy and Analytics, HEATV and Broadcast Services, Digital Media Properties, Business Communications and NBA2K League functions for the Miami HEAT, HEAT Check Gaming and AmericanAirlines Arena.
- McCullough and his team revolutionized NBA Playoff marketing campaigns by being the first team to successfully implement the fan engagement focused color-themed Playoff promotional programs for the HEAT, starting with the “Back in Black” campaign during the 2004 NBA Playoffs. The next year saw the emergence of “The Red Zone,” followed by the “White Hot” campaign which ushered in the first championship for the Miami HEAT in 2006. “White Hot” remains the most successful and well-known such campaign among NBA franchises.
- We dig uniforms and integrated marketing campaigns! Under McCullough’s watch, the HEAT has implemented the NBA’s most aggressive Team Uniform Program, with the “Vice“ uniform campaign re-writing the record books in terms of retail sales, media coverage and fan engagement. Other uniform highlights include conceptualizing the “NBA Nickname Collection“ uniform program and the “Home Strong“ military-themed uniform, which prominently featured the names of South Florida soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This unique uniform design capability, combined with our retail marketing operation, has generated millions of dollars in sales and earned the HEAT the reputation as the best retail operation in professional sports as evidenced by being named NBA Retailer of the Year in 2003, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017. Additionally, the HEAT Retail Operations Department was the inaugural inductee into the NBA Team Retail Hall of Fame in 2019.
- File under: Things I Never Thought I Would Get To Do In My Career: McCullough is the point-person for the HEAT Business Operations division for all Championship-related activities, including the design and distribution of the three HEAT Championship rings for players, staff and families, plus the creation of all Championship-related retail merchandise and sales strategies while maintaining responsibility for the design and execution of the Championship parades and celebrations.
- As “chief evangelist,” for the HEAT, McCullough guides and directs both internal and external brand communication and activation strategies, while acting as the “voice” of the franchise to employees and media alike, oftentimes assuming an alter ego personality to foster employee engagement.
BMH (Before the Miami HEAT):
- Prior to joining The HEAT Group, McCullough was with the Sacramento Kings, where in five years he oversaw a marketing effort that led to 495 consecutive sold-out games. McCullough originally joined Sacramento in 1988, spending two seasons as the team’s director of broadcasting before accepting a similar position at the National Basketball Association in 1990, where he assisted teams in the production of game telecasts and played an integral role in national NBA broadcasts, as well as special event broadcasts like the NBA Draft and NBA All-Star Weekend activities.
- McCullough was a three-year starter for the Utah State Aggies basketball team (during the short-shorts era), and was fortunate enough to participate in the NCAA and NIT Tournaments before graduating in 1984 with a degree in political science. McCullough is the very proud father of five children, all of whom are doing great things with their lives all across the country: Nathan (Boulder, CO), Samantha (Miami, FL), MacKenzie (Los Angeles, CA), Zach (Chesapeake, VA) and Kirbie (Gainesville, FL). For “fun“, McCullough attends Boot Camp classes at Legacy Fit at 6:00am and is a certified “gym rat“. A stroll past his office reveals his love for music and his passion for vinyl. He and his girlfriend Valeria thoroughly enjoy living in Edgewater, just north of downtown Miami.