Executive Stories

Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.

Executive Spotlight - April 19, 2005

Michael Humes


Executive Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer, Seattle Sonics and Storm


We've all heard the phrase, Michael Humes "Good things come to those who wait," but I'm not sure he thought it would be 10 years! That's nearly a professional lifetime!

Mike Humes was named Executive Vice President of the Seattle Sonics and Storm last summer....summer of 2004. Although he lived only a 2 ½ hour drive from me, I never had him as a candidate in a search. Mike cast a long shadow, but seemingly not long enough to reach Cleveland. Look at these accomplishments prior to Seattle.

While at the Columbus Blue Jackets from 1999 to 2004, he:

  • Oversaw the sale of 14,000 season tickets and played to 100% capacity in 2002 and 2004. The team renewed tickets 96 - 99% before the current NHL lockout. This was for a team whose ticket revenue was consistently in the top eight in the thirty team NHL.

  • Nationwide Arena hosted 186 events in 2003 including the first stop on Brittany Spears tour, Billy Joel, Elton John, Longaburger Conventions, Joyce Meyers Ministries and launched a successful Arena Football Team which in its first season sold 12,500 season tickets.

  • Oversaw Nationwide Arena/Blue Jackets stadium experience which was #1 in an ESPN Magazine poll across the four major sports.

  • And for imagination, took netting from the inaugural year, boxed it into a picture frame, signed by the goalies and sold them each for $500 in about 2 hours.


He just waited. As a matter of fact, I'll tell you how long he waited......

March 21, 1994...he wrote to my 23-year old assistant, Jerry Fellenstein, a perpetual college student, who at the time also babysat my 4-year-old son, Davis.

"Dear Mr. Fellenstein:

I was referred to your company by a former colleague of mine, Karen Lechner. She and I worked closely during our careers with the National Hockey League. She advised me that I might be well served to forward you a copy of my curriculum vitae.

I am currently employed by the National Hockey League Player's Association in Toronto.... I am interested in pursuing this line of work elsewhere but I am certainly not limited to hockey or Canada. I am a Canadian citizen, but married to an American, and would be eager to relocate......

My curriculum vitae will outline my experience and strengths....I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you....(did he mean, in 10 years???)

Sincerely,

Michael Humes"

While speaking at the Miami Heat Career Fair at the end of March, I shared the podium with such incredibly great people in Dr. Bill Sutton (consultant to the NBA), Michael McCullough (Miami Heat) and Michael Yormark (Florida Panthers). In front of a 100-person crowd spanning the outer corridor of the American Airlines Arena overlooking the Bay, Bill, Michael and Michael all echoed, "You have to be one step better than the next person to get noticed."

Yes, Mike Humes has amassed incredible experiences. So did the others who interviewed for the Sonics' position. But one of the easiest and "most differentiating" things Mike Humes did to prepare for his interview with the owner and senior managers of the Sonics is that he read Howard Schultz' book "Pour Your Heart into it". He was able to reference how his skills are the kind of skills Howard looks for in his Starbucks employees. Now, I'm not sure that single feat got him this job, but I'm sure it helped.

"For blessings ever wait on virtuous deeds,

And though a late, a sure reward succeeds."


---William Congreve (1670-1729)

It took time for Mike to get noticed. But he got noticed....eventually by one of the country's best marketers and by a team that has been a showcase in the NBA this year. He's become one of the reasons why. Well done, Mike!

- Buffy Filippell


"Having worked under Mike's leadership, it was clear to me that his success is attributable to his entrepreneurial spirit, attention to detail, passion and commitment to excellence. The Columbus Blue Jackets success was due in large part to Mike's vision and dedication."

--Paul D'Aiuto, Vice President, Corporate Development, Blue Jackets


What I do...

Mike's day to day responsibility is to oversee the sales, marketing and business operations of the NBA's Sonics and WNBA Champion, Seattle Storm.

HOW I GOT HERE...

SEATTLE SUPERONICS; Seattle, WA; 2004-present
Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer
Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS; Columbus, OH; 1999-2004
Senior Vice President Business
Vice President Business Development & Broadcasting

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE; Springfield, MA; 1994-1999
Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing
Vice President Corporate Sales

NHL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION; Toronto, Ontario; 1992-1994
Director of Special Projects

NHL ENTERPRISES; Philadelphia, PA/Montreal, Canada; 1991-1992
Director of Special Events

NHL; Montreal, Ontario; 1987-1991
Assistant Director of Administration

TeamWork Innovators

Daryl Morey, General Manager, Houston Rockets

Daryl Morey brought some amazing talents to the sports industry. Upon graduating from Northwestern where he worked part-time while in school for Stats, Inc., before entering graduate school at MIT Daryl was hired as a Senior Knowledge Management Engineer and helped Mitre develop a computer program for NSA which could scan all the international videos and bring up clips of specific items - such as "Hussein" - and show just those clips across all international broadcasts. This technology was later developed for commercial use and marketed under the company, Virage. Mr. Morey wrote the code and algorithm. He could convert speech to text and frames and mark when a story started and ended on the video. Is it a surprise he has become the thought leader in advancing database analytics, algorithms and technology in the sports industry?

Learn more

Others Say

"Morey is the whiz-kid stats analyst who made news last month when he was hired from the Celtics, where he worked on the business side, to take over as (GM) Dawson's eventual replacement. With his background as a Bill James disciple, Morey's hiring was hailed as the NBA's first venture into "Moneyball."

- Marty Burns, Sports Illustrated