By: Adam White, @FOSAdam
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Jim Sweeney, creator of MIKE and a FIMBA USA rep. He is an alumnus of Boston College where he got his degree in English Literature and Communication. He was gracious enough to sit down with us and provide insight about his unique character MIKE, how hard work can be easy if you love it, and how someday he hopes his sweat equity turns MIKE into a recognizable sports icon.
What were your previous positions if any before your current position? How did those positions help you get to where you are today?
I owned a marketing company for computers in Florida and I have been an entrepreneur for 20 years. I was marketing boring computer widgets and I wanted to do something different and MIKE is radically different. I wanted to boldly step out and do something that no one had done before.
For people who do not know, what is MIKE? Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from a lifetime of observation and angst and the way sports are covered in the media. MIKE is a multimedia property and we call him the ultimate talking head on sports. He’s a microphone with a face and a bowtie that has morphed into a character. You can check him out at http://www.theemike.com/
What is a normal day like for you in regards to MIKE and FIMBA? What are some of your day to day challenges?
For MIKE the biggest challenge is trying to find something to differentiate MIKE from the other sports reporters and talk show hosts. I write a blog every day and I try to use it to generate interest for my site and my books. I want MIKE to be evergreen.
For FIMBA I’m the United States Rep. It’s an unpaid position. FIMBA is short for the Federation of International Masters Basketball Association. My role is to help recruit players and teams to participate in the tournament. It helps me with my work on MIKE because of the connections I have developed.
What drew you to being a part of digital animation aspect of sports?
I’ve always liked cartoons and there has never been a household brand when it comes to an animated sports icon. The closest thing to that is Cletus the robot on Fox Sunday football. I feel that MIKE would transcend all sports and that’s are goal. We want to create the first ever animated brand that transcends all sports.
What is your ultimate career goal for yourself and for MIKE?
The ultimate career goal for us is to create the first ever animated brand that transcends all sports. We want MIKE to be as recognizable as Bart Simpson and Mickey Mouse.
What’s the highlight of your career to this point?
The highlight is knowing that I had the courage and hutzpah to leave a successful business to jump out into the unknown to try something that I was passionate about and although it hasn’t gotten to the point we want it to be I’m still going headlong into this because I know it has great potential.
What do you like best about working in sports? And in your case being a part of sports from a medium most people don’t think about when it comes to sports in digital animation.
I think sports is a cross section of society. It represents incredible stories on a daily basis. I love sports and I love the preparation and discipline and the overcoming stories.
How important is networking in your eyes?
It very important. Once a week I’ll go to a meet up with other people to learn about podcasts and websites. We not only network but we learn. We don’t work in a corporate industry so we have to find a way to learn.
Many people think working in sports is all glitz and glamour, can you elaborate on how much work and how many hours it takes to be successful in the sports industry?
I work a lot but because I love it I don’t look at it as a job. It’s not easy. There’s lots of things that can go wrong. Especially with your own business because your everything. Your passion will carry you through.
Jim would like to give a special shoutout to his wife of 33 years Maura who is his pulisher when it comes to everything MIKE related. " She helps me so much that I could not do all this without her, she is very smart and helps a great deal."
His company's website is: http://www.theemike.com/
You can support Jim's goal and vision by purchasing MIKE books on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/jim-sweeney/e/B009G6XZG0