Mike McCarley

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Mike McCarley is an American broadcasting executive and the president of Golf Channel, a post he assumed in February 2011 after more than a decade with NBC. He is a protégé of former NBC Sports & Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol.[1] McCarley was named one of Sports Business Journal's "40 under 40" in 2009,[2] 2010,[3] and 2013.[4] With his third placement among this elite class, McCarley earned recognition as a member of the “40 Under 40” Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

In 2012, he was named Sports Network Executive of the Year by Cynopsis Sports.[5]

Golf Channel[edit]

Golf Channel came under the umbrella of NBC Universal when its owner, Comcast, acquired control of NBCU on January 28, 2011.[6] On February 2, NBC Sports Group announced that McCarley would take the reins as Golf Channel president, along with several other leadership changes in their broadcasting and web-based assets. Ebersol combined these assets to increase viewership, and McCarley said his mandate was to incorporate more of the NBC "sports sensibility" into Golf Channel's programming.[7]

McCarley told Broadcasting & Cable, "There are resources available within the new, larger company that we'll deploy when it's appropriate and when it makes sense for the audience. We're never going to stray from the core of the mission, which is to serve the viewer, the golf fan." One example is he's added CNBC business reports to the network's Morning Drive show.

In its first year as part of the NBC Sports Group, Golf Channel set several records: 2011 was the most-watched year in its 17-year history,[8] Feherty premiered as its most-watched original series,[9] and its coverage of the final round of the 2012 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was the most-viewed round of any tournament in the network’s history.[10] The 23% increase in viewership of PGA Tour coverage in 2011 came despite Tiger Woods playing in just 10 events on Golf Channel, with no wins until the final tournament of the year.[11]

Continuing this trend in 2012, Golf Channel scored its most-watched year ever in the 18-year history of the network. This marked the second consecutive most-watched year after a record-breaking 2011. The continued surge in viewership since joining the NBC Sports Group early in 2011 retained Golf Channel’s status as the fastest-growing network on U.S. television (among networks serving 80 million or more homes throughout that span), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.[12] Golf Channel carried the momentum into 2013 with its most-watched quarter ever in the year’s first three months.[13]

In March 2012, Golf Channel launched programming for the first time in India and other markets across South Asia, bringing its international reach to 83 countries.[14]

In addition to increased viewership, McCarley steered the continued growth of Golf Channel by extending the flagship “Morning Drive” program to seven days a week and expanding its digital platforms to include 24/7 live streaming via Golf Live Extra.[15]

After his first year with the network, PGA Tour Radio described McCarley as “at least in the top 10 in terms of most powerful in the game of golf.”[16] Multichannel News named him one of the “Forty Under 40” in 2013[17] and CableFAX named him one of its Top 100 power players for cable programming in 2012.[18]


McCarley started at NBC as communications director for its Olympic division. While at NBC, McCarley was credited with developing the network's "big event strategy," which has resulted in record television audiences for a variety of sports events, including the Olympics, NFL, Kentucky Derby and NHL. He is also credited with NBC Sports’ successful "Sunday Night Is Football Night" campaign.[19]

In 2003, he was promoted to Director, Marketing and Communications, NBC Olympics while he continued to lead the network's communications strategy as "America’s Olympic Network," a $5.5 billion commitment that includes seven consecutive Olympics from 2000 to 2012. In 2004, he was promoted to vice president and in 2006 McCarley was elevated to senior vice president, strategic marketing, promotion and communications, adding oversight of all NBC Sports advertising and promotions.[20] At the time, McCarley had been considering leaving NBC to get a masters of business, but Ebersol "frowned and said, 'Stay here and get your MBA from me.'"[21]

The Wall Street Journal reported that, "Promotion, in the world of McCarley's mentor, NBC Sports Group Chairman Dick Ebersol, is not just fluff, it's key to the master plan."[22]


Under McCarley, Sunday Night Football became the only regularly scheduled sports program of any kind to be the No. 1 primetime program of the fall television season in 2010.[23]

He told Sports Business Daily that he knew his football campaign was a success when he heard his mother-in-law imitate Al Roker's weather forecast for Sunday games. “If my mother-in-law knows about the Sunday night game, then there are people all across the country who aren’t big football fans that know about the game,” he said.[24] In September 2009, NBC Sports’ broadcast of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium opening became the most-watched primetime NFL game in 12 years, and the 2010 kickoff from New Orleans became the most-watched primetime NFL game in 14 years.[25] Super Bowl XLIII (2009) became the most-watched single program in U.S. television history with a record 152 million viewers.[26]


Beijing 2008[edit]

In August 2008, McCarley was promoted to senior vice president following NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics. He collaborated with the network’s broadcast partners and led all NBC Sports brand-related activities. On all 17 nights of the games, NBC had more viewers than ABC, CBS, and FOX combined. The Beijing Games became the most watched U.S. television event of all time, with 215 million viewers.[27]

Vancouver 2010[edit]

The Vancouver Winter Olympics was the second most-watched Winter Olympics in history with 190 million viewers, following the "tabloid-fueled" 1994 Lillehammer Games,[28] and the only show to ever beat American Idol in ratings.[29]

Other records[edit]

McCarley was coordinating producer for the 2009 NHL Winter Classic's promotional campaign, which won the first-ever Emmy Award for sports promotion.[30] The 2011 Classic was the most watched NHL contest in the United States since 1996.[31] In 2012, he was named Sports Network Executive of the Year by Cynopsis Sports, noting that he'd led The Golf Channel to the most-watched year of its 17-year history in 2011.[32]


  1. ^ Flint, Joe. “NBC Sports Group restructures in wake of Comcast deal”, “Los Angeles Times,” February 2, 2011
  2. ^ “2009 Forty Under 40: Mike McCarley”, “Sports Business Journal,” March 23, 2009
  3. ^ “2010 Forty Under 40: Mike McCarley”, “Sports Business Journal,” March 8, 2010
  4. ^ “Forty Under 40”, “Sports Business Journal,” March 18, 2013
  5. ^ “Sports Luminaries To Be Honored at Cynopsis Sports Media Awards in August”, Cynopsis press release, July 16, 2012
  6. ^ Lafayette, Jon. “New Boss Tees Up Changes At Golf Channel”, “Broadcasting & Cable,” February 4, 2011
  7. ^ Paul, John. “Golf on Television Gets Supersized”, “The Wall Street Journal,” March 5, 2011
  8. ^ “Golf Channel Has Record Year”, “PGATour.com,” January 4, 2012
  9. ^ Weisman, Jon. “’Feherty’ Expands To Hourlong Episodes”, “Variety,” January 25, 2012
  10. ^ “TV Ratings: Golf Channel Sets Record (Also, Red Wings and Mavs Hit Multi-Year Highs)”, “Sports Media Watch,” February 15, 2012
  11. ^ Gorman, Bill. “2011 Is Most-Watched Year Ever For Golf Channel”, “TV By The Numbers,” January 4, 2012
  12. ^ “Golf Channel Scores Most-Watched Year Ever”, “TV By The Numbers,” January 3, 2013
  13. ^ “Golf Channel Continues Fast Start With Most-Watched Quarter Ever”, “The Golf Channel,” April 3, 2013
  14. ^ Gorman, Bill. “Cynopsis: Sports”, “Cynopsis Media,” March 15, 2012
  15. ^ “Golf Channel's Morning Drive Expands To Seven Days And Unveils New Format, New Co-hosts, New Set”, “Reuters,” January 24, 2013
  16. ^ Adams, Matt. “Interviews – Mike McCarley”, “Fairways Of Life,” February 8, 2012
  17. ^ "40 Under 40: 'MCN' Selects Young Execs Helping Their Companies Grow", "Synacor," April 23, 2013
  18. ^ "The 100", "CableFAX," December 2012
  19. ^ Williams, Jim. “The new team at NBC, Versus, Golf Channel, CSN Regionals”, “The Washington Examiner,” February 2, 2011
  20. ^ “Mike McCarley – Corporate Biography”, “NBCUMV.com,” February 2, 2011
  21. ^ “2009 Forty Under 40: Mike McCarley”, “Sports Business Journal,” March 23, 2009
  22. ^ Paul, John. “Golf on Television Gets Supersized”, “The Wall Street Journal,” March 5, 2011
  23. ^ Gorman, Bill. ““Sunday Night Football” No. 1 Show Of Primetime Season; Undefeated vs. Competition In 2010”, “TV By the Numbers,” January 5, 2011
  24. ^ “2010 Forty Under 40: Mike McCarley”, “Sports Business Journal,” March 8, 2010
  25. ^ “Mike McCarley – Corporate Biography”, “NBCUMV.com,” February 2, 2011
  26. ^ “Dick Ebersol – Corporate Biography”, “Comcast.com,”
  27. ^ Gorman, Bill. “NBC Hopes For 200 Million Winter Olympics Viewers, Topping Torino and Salt Lake City”, “TV By the Numbers,” January 30, 2010
  28. ^ Siedman, Robert. “190 Million People Watched Olympics in US, 2nd Most-Watched Winter Olympics in History”, “TV By the Numbers,” March 1, 2010
  29. ^ “NBC strikes ratings gold — Olympics beat ‘Idol’”, “MSNBC,” February 2, 2010
  30. ^ “Winners Of 30th Annual Sports Emmy Awards Announced By National Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences”, “Emmy Online,” April 27, 2009
  31. ^ "Winter Classic On NBC Is Top NHL Regular-Season Audience In 36 Years". SportsBusiness Daily. Street & Smith. January 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  32. ^ “Sports Luminaries To Be Honored at Cynopsis Sports Media Awards in August”, Cynopsis press release, July 16, 2012

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