MIAMI, USA // 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 36-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 Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media, Creative, Retail Marketing and Operations, Business Communications, Social Responsibility, Game Presentation and Events, Broadcasting, Media Production, Broadcast Services and NBA 2K League functions for the Miami HEAT, HEAT Check Gaming and Kaseya Center.
As part of the 2022 NBA Sales and Marketing Awards, the Miami HEAT were named the “2022 Team of the Year”. The award recognizes demonstrated excellence in business performance across both key revenue drivers and operational focus areas such as people and culture, and community impact. The Team of the Year Award was determined by a selection committee comprised of team and league executives.
Additionally, McCullough and Steve Stowe, Vice President / Executive Director of the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund were the co-winners of the “Values of the Game” Award, which recognizes an individual or individuals who inspire and connect people everywhere, but specifically in their community, through the power of basketball. McCullough and Stowe won for their combined efforts in launching a first-of-its-kind partnership with the City of Miami Police Department and Dedication to Community (D2C) through a unique community policing program designed to help bridge the gap between Black and Brown city residents and local law enforcement. A pilot program was first announced on September 3, 2020, which consisted of approximately 75 officers participating in the training. The HEAT has since announced the expansion of the program to include training of the entire Miami Police Department, including approximately 900 uniformed officers. The program has since branched out to include a pilot program with the Miami-Dade County Police Department, one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States.
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.
McCullough and his team revolutionized NBA Playoff marketing campaigns by being the first team to successfully and consistently implement the fan engagement focused color-themed Playoff promotional programs for the HEAT. “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 and successful City Edition uniform campaigns, with the “Vice” uniform campaign re-writing the record books in terms of retail sales, media coverage and fan engagement, only to be followed by and topped by the “Miami Mashup Vol. 1 and Vol.2 uniform campaigns.
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.
Prior to joining The HEAT Group, McCullough was with the Sacramento Kings (1988-90; 1992-97) and the National Basketball Association (1990-92).
McCullough was a three-year starter for the Utah State Aggies basketball team (during the short-shorts era 1980-84). McCullough and his wife, Valeria, live in the Edgewater area of downtown Miami with their dog, Mateo. A certified “vinyl junkie”, McCullough maintains a large collection of vinyl records and has turntables both at home and in his office, where vinyl can be seen and heard playing loudly.