Michael Mulone is director of event and tourism partnerships at B.A.S.S. As a 2017 Connect Sports Game Changer, Mulone discusses his passion for sports tourism.
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What I do:
I’m responsible for event partnerships, site selection, sponsor hospitality and activation, and meeting and event planning for the Bassmaster Tournaments. Bassmaster Elite Series and GEICO Bassmaster Classic
air on ESPN.
How I got here:
I was a sports writer for small newspapers out of college, then moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in the 1990s, got into hotels and worked my way up. I went to the CVB sports side, then back to hotels, before I landed again at a CVB, which led to an events gig at ESPN. ESPN owned B.A.S.S. at the time; I then jumped to site selection with B.A.S.S.—this was over 12 years ago. The job has since expanded to a host of responsibilities, all of which I love to do.
Why I’m a game changer:
I lead with empathy. It is easy to say that because I have worked on both the hotel and CVB side, I ‘get’ what their needs are. However, my goal is to understand and empathize with the person. Negotiations then go away, and honest and open conversations thrive.
My greatest career accomplishment:
My work around the GEICO Bassmaster Classic. Classic week is a special time, and I have a lot of touch points during the event, from large-scale VIP functions to a community service project with the anglers to a multihotel block with over 3,500 room nights.
My impressive stats are the variety of hats I wear. Beyond site selection and event planning, my responsibilities extend to sponsor activations, hospitality and media relations. I am proud I can do many different things effectively. The stats, however—like increased attendance, securing new partnerships and positive sponsor engagements—are shared success stories with the team at B.A.S.S. I am so fortunate to work with wonderful professionals.
What I’m working on:
We are working with cities to host the GEICO Bassmaster Classic through 2023. The first Classic I booked was in 2007, and the event continues to grow in size and scope.
What I do outside of work:
I enjoy saltwater fishing (don’t tell the bass!), golfing and cooking. I love to cook—it’s where I can be most creative. All of those are fun, but even better with my family. I also like trapshooting, painting and photography. Actually, the last three were two truths and a lie. Oh and I’m a goofball, which is delightful for our teenage daughters, who have perfected the eye roll. My wife has a home decor-vintage furniture retail store, where I relish my role as the director of heavy lifting.