Former White House communications director on similarities, differences of covering sports and politics
July 30, 2015 / Poynter.org
Kevin Sullivan’s vast career in public relations has taken him from the NBA to NBC to the White House. Sports always have been a focal point, even for the most important job interview of his life.
In 2006, Sullivan was recommended to serve as the communications director for George Bush. However, he still had to pass the test in meeting the president.
Sullivan knew Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers, was a big sports fan. So he was ready when the president asked, “Where are you from?”
“Chicago, sir. White Sox, not Cubs,” said Sullivan, a native of Chicago’s South Side.
Sullivan obviously had the credentials, but the sports connection helped seal the deal. He... +Continue Reading
August 3, 2015 / joefavorito.com
Several years ago I was sitting in the stands at the US Open during a rain delay with Doug Band, who was then President Bill Clinton’s Deputy Assistant. Doug was at the Open with POTUS that day, and as we waited for the courts to dry, we got to talking about the similarities between what we look for in the business of sports and what the political cycle entails. I mentioned the rain delay would drive play that night on CBS into prime time, which was huge for us, and he laughed and talked about how so much revolved around getting those eyeballs and doing what was essential for success in his business; winning hearts and minds through... +Continue Reading
Politico / April 23, 2015
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. – This week, President Barack Obama took a guided tour of sawgrass and alligators and brought Bill Nye the Science Guy along on Air Force One to tape a White House website video about climate change.
Next week? Tune in for the next episode of Barack Obama, stunt president.
The White House is developing an outreach strategy for the last year and a half of Obama’s presidency designed to keep him relevant to the public debate even as Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidates dominate the national news more and more.
White House aides say they recognize that the prospect of Obama doing another factory tour followed by 10 minutes of remarks appeals less and less to reporters, editors and producers — and... +Continue Reading
Dallas Morning News / April 27, 2013
There has not been a more respected sports public relations type in this market than Kevin Sullivan, who spent 18 seasons with the Mavericks.
Sully arrived at the birth of the franchise in 1980 as a wet-behind-the-ears assistant from Purdue and left a grizzled veteran after Donald Carter sold the team to Ross Perot in 1996.
His subsequent career path has been storybook. From a a brief stint at Dallas 2012, which unsuccessfully tried to woo the Summer Olympics to North Texas, he moved to New York where he served as NBC Sports’ public relations boss. That eventually triggered a move upstairs to head up the public relations effort of the entire NBC network.
At the start of President George W. Bush’s second... +Continue Reading
WASHINGTON — It was always his mess to clean up. That’s what Americans expect from their presidents.
And so as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico became the worst in U.S. history, President Barack Obama took responsibility in the only obvious way left.
“In case you were wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility,” Obama said at a Thursday news conference arranged to make that very point. “It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down.”
No more White House parsing about how BP is legally responsible for plugging the leak and paying the cost, even though that remains accurate. Obama knew that his own accountability was needed for the angry Gulf Coast communities, for an administration struggling to nail its message... +Continue Reading
Every Wednesday, Texas on the Potomac presents “Where are they now?” Each week, we update you on the whereabouts of a Texan who played a role in national politics and policy. Our subject today is Kevin Sullivan.
Texan on the Potomac: Kevin Sullivan
Job on the Potomac: White House Communications Director for President George W. Bush
Best known for: Directing White House communications in the final years of George W. Bush’s presidency, unflappable demeanor, uncanny resemblance to actor Oliver Platt
Early Life: Kevin Sullivan was born November 9, 1958 in Evergreen Park, Ill. He grew up on the southwest side of Chicago and earned a Bachelor of Science... +Continue Reading
On Oct. 20, I joined Josh King to preview the final 2012 Presidential debate on “Polioptics,” the political communications show heard each Saturday on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel. The show is available for download at Apple iTunes and Polioptics.com, where King adds an entertaining recap of the entire show.+Continue Reading
Offered my take on the VP Debate while guest co-hosting ”Polioptics” alongside Josh King on the SiriusXM POTUS Channel. Show also features a fascinating interview with former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry (left), who talked about his role as co-chair of the debate commission, today’s media and the challenges of living lives of both faith and political service. Show is available at Apple iTunes and Polioptics.com, where King adds an entertaining recap of the show.+Continue Reading
Ad Age: Why Possible Deal Between NFL, Referees is Good News For Madison Avenue; Outraged Fans Not Good for Brand Association
The NFL and its locked-out NFL Referees Association have made enough progress at the negotiating table that there’s a chance the zebras could be back on the field for Week 4 games, according to ESPN. And it wouldn’t be a second too soon.
The league’s overmatched replacement refs have turned off fans and TV viewers with their frequent mistakes and delays — which wasn’t good business for the marketers who sponsor the league.
“As a fan and as a marketer, I am very pleased to hear the news of the pending deal. Although casual fans may have paid more attention because of all the conversation and consternation due to the replacement referees, in the long run it was not a positive circumstance for the NFL or its advertisers,” said Tony Pace, chief marketing officer of Subway. “... +Continue Reading
Sullivan Guest Co-Hosts “Polioptics” on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel with Guests Ashley Parker of NYT, former Maine Gov. Angus King & Uni-Watch Founder Paul Lukas
I returned July 28 as guest co-host of the political-communications show, “Polioptics” alongside Josh King on Sirius XM’s POTUS Channel. Our guests were Ashley Parker of the New York Times (on Gov. MItt Romney’s overseas trip), former Maine governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Angus King (on the polioptics of his campaign motorcycle tour across the state) and ESPN.com columnist and UniWatch.com founder Paul Lukas (on the Olympics and much more). Show is available at Apple iTunes and Polioptics.com... +Continue Reading