Dr. Bernie Mullin
Dr. Bernie Mullin operates his own full service business and marketing consultancy business. Previously he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlanta Spirit, LLC from April, 2004 through 2008. In this role he was in charge of guiding all facets of the Spirit’s operations, including overseeing all team and business operations for the NBA’s Hawks and NHL’s Thrashers and management of the world-class Philips Arena. In just four years under his leadership, the Atlanta Spirit drastically reduced operating losses, and significantly improved the quality of both the Hawks and Thrashers playing staffs, as well as the in-arena experience for fans. Both team won more games each season with the Thrashers winning the NHL’s Southeast Division Championship in 2007, and double-digit revenue growth was produced each year.
Prior to Mullin coming to Atlanta, he served as the NBA’s Senior Vice President, Marketing and Team Business Operations for four years where his responsibilities included managing and marketing the NBA, WNBA and NBDL brands and directing the Team Marketing and Business Operations group that provides consulting services to teams on all business and revenue generating initiatives, most specifically ticket sales and sponsor sales, plus advising on all marketing, advertising, branding and promotional strategies. As a result, NBA league-wide ticket sales, revenues and attendance reversed a three year decline and grew substantively each year breaking all-time records in each of the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
Mullin has 30 years of experience in the sport management industry, involving executive positions with professional teams and leagues, in intercollegiate athletics, in academia and with sports facilities. Bernie began his professional sports team career in 1986, serving as Senior Vice President of Business for the Pittsburgh Pirates, taking the team’s attendance and business revenues to all-time franchise record levels and turning around a perennial losing team. In 1991, Mullin joined the expansion Colorado Rockies as Senior Vice President of Business Operations where he designed the team’s business and marketing plans, and then oversaw the execution of all business, sales and marketing initiatives that produced the MLB all-time attendance record of just under 4.5M fans in one season. A record that still stands today. Dr. Mullin also acted as the owner’s representative for the Rockies on the design and construction of award-winning Coors Field. After the 1993 season Mullin became President and General Manager of the expansion Denver Grizzlies of the International Hockey League, overseeing all business and team operations, winning the Turner Cup Championship and creating a model for successful expansion in the IHL with average attendance over 14,000 fans per game and a 72-20-6 win/loss record.
Prior to and intertwined with his tenure in professional sports, Bernie spent more than a dozen years in intercollegiate athletics and higher education. He served as the Vice Chancellor of Athletics for the University of Denver in the mid to late 90’s where he oversaw the institution’s move to NCAA Division I status and the building of almost $300M of athletic and recreational facilities. That foundation allowed DU to claim 4 NCAA National titles within the next 6 years. Dr Mullin was a Professor of Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts from 1977-86 where he also operated a thriving sport marketing and facility management consultancy business, and published the best-selling text, “Sport Marketing”, which is now in a third edition and is published in nine languages.
The Liverpool, England native played semi-professional football (soccer) for the Oxford City Football Club from 1969-73, and captained his varsity team to back-to-back British Collegiate Championship finals. Mullin earned a Ph.D. in Business, an MBA and an MS in Marketing from the University of Kansas, and he graduated from Coventry University in England with a BA in Business Studies.
Dr. Mullin is very active in the Atlanta community, serving on the boards of Central Atlanta Progress, the Metro Atlanta YMCA and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He resides with his wife Valerie in Chastain Park and has three children, Julie, Lara and Steven, a stepson Chad, and two grandchildren, Ian and Niame.