About Mike McCarthy
“Michael McCarthy is an aggressive sportswriter, blogger and columnist. Most importantly, he always gets it right. He was one of the first mainstream journalists to predict the explosive potential of the UFC in 2005. His work was followed by other big-name sports outlets who didn’t see the future coming like Mike did.”–Dana White, Ultimate Fighting Championship
McCarthy joined Ad Age in 2013. He broke how the One Fund charity for victims of the Boston Marathon terror bombings was created in just 7 hours.
He explored the exploding cost of sports programing and the NFL’s bid to retain season ticket holders in 2013 with platinum frequent flyer-like perks. He tracked how college football is threatening to overtake baseball as America’s No. 2 sport — and the true business cost of the Jerry Sandusky scandal to Penn State University.
With the rising threat from player concussions, he examined the business future of the NFL. He detailed the crash and burn of Lance Armstrong on Madison Avenue, the comeback of Notre Dame and LeBron James‘ expensive new sneakers for Nike.
McCarthy also serves as a Sports Business contributor to CNBC. He recently covered the curious decision to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: a warm weather beach resort on the Black Sea.
As a CNBC contributor, McCarthy’s also written about pro athletes charged with murder, such as Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots and Oscar “The Blade Runner” Pistorius. And the NFL’s continuing battle with the NFL Players Association over HGH testing.
McCarthy’s a 4-time national award winning sports reporter and national sports media columnist. He’s a multi-platform journalist who appears on TV/radio, shoots his own video interviews, blogs and breaks national news.
McCarthy has won both “Best News Story” and “Best Project Reporting” from Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE), for the nation’s largest circulation newspapers. During his career, he took down the false advertising claims of the so-called “toning shoes industry and revealed the secret membership rolls of Augusta National Golf Club.
Previousy, McCarthy created Sports Biz USA in 2012. He broke the news that Jay Glazer was working on a daily football show for Fox Sports 1. His candid, one-on-one interview with ESPN anchor Sage Steeele in Sports Biz USA was cited in Deadspin’s story: “How ESPN ditched journalism and followed Skip Bayless to the bottom: A Tim Tebow story.”
McCarthy also contributed to the NFL, where he covered the TV history of the Super Bowl for the Official Program of Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. He did one of the last interviews with the late Pat Summerall.
He also freelanced for the daily newspaper, Newsday, where he covered the NFL, college football, college basketball, golf and boxing. He reported on the competition between Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Madison Garden in Manhattan, as well as the best New Yorkers to follow on Twitter, for USA TODAY’s Best of New York issue.
Previously, McCarthy spent 12 years at USA TODAY covering Sports Business, Media, Marketing and Advertising. He helped quintuple readership of the Game On! blog and turned it into the largest sports blog at USATODAY.com, passing The Huddle NFL blog. Time magazine named McCarthy’s Game On! one of the Top 25 Best Blogs of 2012. He was the blogger responsible for the two largest traffic days in history of USA TODAY SPORTS.
A multi-media journalist, McCarthy’s also a videographer who’s shot his own video interviews with Henrik Lundqvist, Tom Brady, Joe Namath, and David Ortiz. He created USAT’s online NFL Announcers Poll and engaged in “Open Mikes” debates in print and online.
McCarthy broke the news the NFL was imposing a “Fan Code of Conduct” in 2010 to crack down on stadium violence. He exposed the phony advertising claims of “toning shoes” marketers such as Skechers and Reebok two years before the U.S. government fined them tens of millions for false advertising. On May 16, 2003, Skechers payed $40 million to settle FTC charges that its claims that women could lose weight just by wearing toning shoes were bogus.
As an investigative reporter, he won Best News Story of 2002 from APSE for his scoop revealing the secret membership rolls of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters tournament. It was the most-read story of the year for the paper and the only time before or since that USA TODAY won Best News Story.
McCarthy was also a reporter on the team that won Best Project Reporting from APSE on rising college coaching salaries in 2006. He won Honorable Mention and 4th Place awards from APSE for Investigative Reporting in 2010 and 2009.
McCarthy was the first mainstream sports reporter to profile Dana White and to predict the explosive growth of the UFC. His work was followed by other sports outlets such as Sports Illustrated.
Radio host Don Imus invited McCarthy on his show to discuss his series with Andrew Backover on how the families of victims of the 09/11 terror attacks were not getting charity funds they deserved.
McCarthy has investigated everything from criminal athletes sentenced to sweetheart community service punishments and point shaving scandals in college sports to Hurricane Charley in Florida and the rise of violent illegal fight clubs. He’s profiled sports figures, ranging from NASCAR’S Brian France and Donald Trump to late IMG chairman Ted Forstmann.
He’s interviewed everyone from athletes Derek Jeter, Michael Phelps and Tom Brady to sports commissioners Roger Goodell, David Stern and Gary Bettman to entertainment figures Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Costner, Kim Kardashian and Hugh Hefner.
McCarthy’s also done plenty of straight game coverage. He covered Derek Jeter’s 3,000th career hit from Yankee Stadium. He live-blogged the New York Rangers’ Game 7 NHL Playoff victories over the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden in 2012. He’s written both features and game stories on Eli Manning’s New York Giants.
McCarthy frequently appears on TV and radio as a commentator discussing Sports Business, Media and Marketing news.
He appeared on ESPN Los Angeles to discuss USC quarterback Matt Barkley’s diminishing endorsement prospects on Madison Avenue.
McCarthy analyzed the “The Business of the NFL” with the BBC and the 3-year, $800 million remodeling of Madison Square Garden with NBC’s David Ushery. He appeared on CNN to discuss the financial fallout from the Tiger Woods sex scandal.
McCarthy made nearly 10 appearances with Matt Lauer, Katie Couric and other anchors on NBC’s Today show to discuss Super Bowl advertising. He’s also appeared on Fox News, CBS, ABC, CNBC, MSNBC, SNY, National Public Radio and Access Hollywood. He worked on USA TODAY’s Super Bowl “Ad Meter” for seven years.
McCarthy’s stories have been cited by media outlets ranging from Wall Street Journal, New York Times, ESPN and Sports Illustrated to The Drudge Report, Deadspin, Associated Press, CNBC, CNN and NPR. During his career he’s covered the Super Bowl, Olympics, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, The Masters and U.S. Open golf and tennis tournaments.
McCarthy frequently serves as a moderator for sports and marketing panels. He moderated StubHub’s recent panel on the future of the secondary ticket market. He organized, and moderated USA TODAY’s Marketing Seminars on Beer Advertising, Mini-Movies and Extreme Advertising at the “Olympics of Advertising,” the Cannes International Advertising Festival in France. He reported on Fox Sports winning the Grand Prix award for best commercial.
During his career, he’s covered Sports Business, Media, Advertising, Marketing, Beer, Beverages, Entertainment, Automotive and Retailing. Prior to joining USA TODAY, he served as a reporter, columnist and editor for Adweek Magazine in Los Angeles and New York. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University.