Networking is a serial endeavor and there are few who are better at it than Mike Boykin, a 30-year veteran of the sports marketing business. He sits at the helm of Bespoke Sports & Entertainment, an 18-month-old marketing agency headquartered on Morehead that is already working with a number of NASCAR sponsors and the title sponsor of the soon-to-be largest college football game in history.
Boykin is part of a sports industry in Charlotte that is much broader than our professional teams and includes media companies, marketing and athlete rep agencies, sponsors and a bunch of others. Nearly 200 companies in total.
1000 West Morehead – Boxer Building
How long is your commute?
I drive from Lake Wylie to our office on West Morehead. If I leave at 6:30 a.m. and it’s a good day it’ll take 30 minutes. If I leave at 7 it could be an hour or more.
What do you do during your commute?
I make phone calls and get updated on what’s happening in local and national sports news. Occasionally I turn everything off and try to think and be creative. Which never lasts for long because I think of someone to call or the phone rings. When you’re building a business, the phone ringing is a good thing.
Just upgraded to an iPhone 6 and the new iOS. I figured Apple would’ve fixed Siri’s inability to comprehend a Southern accent. I was wrong.
I have two. One is my primary work laptop and the other is basically a file server and a Gmail machine.
Gadgets you can’t live without
Our Apple TV has taken over our non-sports TV viewing habits. The iPhone has become the gadget that encompasses all other gadgets. There’s no reason to own anything else.
Do you listen to music while you work?
On occasion and the type depends on my mood. I’ll often skip music and enjoy the silence. Finding quiet time to think and be creative has become such an undervalued part of the workday.
What software are you a power user of?
Salesforce and Outlook.
What’s your favorite spot for a business lunch? Your order?
I’ve dined up and down the Morehead corridor for nearly 30 years so I’m not straying far from home. Lately it’s been the shrimp tacos at Dilworth Grille. Savor’s eponymous salad topped with salmon is in my hall of fame.
Social media habits
I scan Twitter most of the day, primarily as a news feed. But I like to focus on my social habits. I pick up the phone and call people. Or I get out of the office to go see them. I write notes. It’s not old school, it’s the right school.
To-do list manager
The Notes app on my phone. But mostly paper and pen. The battery never goes dead on a piece of paper.
What everyday thing are you really good at?
I’m good at being competitive. I compete to win, and when I don’t win I do the work to find out why, so it doesn’t happen again. That applies to business, sports… you name it.
What’s your one favorite thing about your job?
I get to work with great people – clients, teammates and so many people across the sports and entertainment landscape. I love getting to know passionate people and finding ways to help them. I love being at a place in my career where I can connect dots that helps someone achieve his or her goals and dreams, especially when it’s a driven person who comes from a disadvantaged background. We all need a hand up every once in awhile.
Best time-saving shortcut or Charlotte life hack
Charlotte doesn’t have a traffic problem if you show up to work early.
I’m usually in bed by 10 p.m. but sporting and social events really dictate my bedtime. I’m up with the crow of the Gamecock.
Where do you go around Charlotte to get away from the office?
Charlotte has so many beautiful tree-lined roads but I really love driving up Queens Road West on a sunny day. We live in a naturally beautiful city and sometimes I fear our growth threatens to homogenize our special neighborhoods.
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Turkey sausage and an apple. Way too often I eat crunchy peanut butter and toast.
If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing?
Athletic Director at University of South Carolina.
Best job advice you’ve received
Give it your best and make yourself valuable and you’ll always have a job.
Last book you read (grade it on a A-F scale)
A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin. Her books always get an A.
Last movie you watched (grade it on a A-F scale)
My Cousin Vinny. I give it the same grade I’ve given it the dozens of other times I’ve watched it. A+.
What’s one thing people don’t know about Charlotte that they should?
We have a thriving sports business community that certainly includes the big franchises and NASCAR, but goes a lot deeper to include national and regional sports media networks and outlets, major events, marketing and representation agencies, sponsors, college athletics…the list goes on and on. Charlotte might be a banking town but our sports industry rivals any city not named New York or Los Angeles.
What other Charlottean would you like to answer these questions?
All images courtesy of Mike Boykin