Just like it was yesterday, Mike Shane ’04 remembers the Washington Nationals making the playoffs nearly a decade ago.
“An hour after the game ended, stands were still packed. Everyone was cheering as the players took a lap around the field, high-fiving their fans,” said Shane, who spent 13 years moving up through the organization. “From the players to the staff to the fans, that night was the culmination of so much effort, energy and passion.”
Shane, who played baseball and earned a bachelor’s degree while at Mary Washington, has seen his hard work pay off. This summer, he was named to Sports Business Journal’s (SBJ) “Forty Under 40” list. Now chief business officer for Comcast Spectacor, a sports and entertainment company that owns professional ice hockey team the Philadelphia Flyers, Shane said that from the beginning, his focus has been on helping sports fans make lasting memories.
“I love walking onto the concourse before a game and seeing kids’ faces light up as they take it all in,” said Shane, a father of three boys who brings his family to the UMW alumni baseball game every year.
Shane, who grew up in Pittsburgh, covered his bases as a kid, playing as many sports as he could. Most of his classmates chose to attend in-state schools, he said, but a recruitment letter from then-Mary Washington baseball coach Tom Sheridan stood out.
Stepping onto Campus Walk for the first time, Shane knew Mary Washington was where he wanted to be. He joined the Eagles baseball team as an infielder and took to heart Sheridan’s advice: Effort without results doesn’t matter.
Off the field, Shane majored in business, supplementing his classes with a three-year internship with Assistant Athletic Communications Director Clint Often.
“I saw early on that Mike was an intelligent, hardworking young man who could thrive in any environment,” Often said. “He is showing on a national scale the breadth of talent he possessed as a student.”
Shane joined the Charlotte Bobcats’ (now Hornets) inside sales team right after college. Calling fans “the lifeblood of our industry,” he said the entry level job helped him understand why customers spend their time and money on sports teams.
Hired by the Washington Nationals in 2006, he helped grow the team’s fan base, moved as he watched kids who grew up at the ballpark later buy tickets and come to games as adults.
“It was so exciting to see the franchise become a generational team, knowing I had a hand in making that happen,” Shane said. He was “over the moon” when the Nats won their first World Series championship in 2019, shortly after he left for Philadelphia, ready for the next step for his career and family.
At Comcast Spectacor, Shane oversees business operations, from the Philadelphia Wings lacrosse and Maine Mariners minor league hockey teams to the 19,500-seat Wells Fargo Center, and of course, the Flyers. The team recently had its best revenue year, according to the SBJ article. “Helping this storied hockey franchise tell the next chapter is such an honor,” he said.
So was earning a spot on SBJ’s “Forty Under 40” list. Reflecting on being profiled in the July issue, Shane said, “There are so many sacrifices that come with working in professional sports.” He credits wife Sarah for managing the family through his long hours, hectic schedule and frequent travel, saying the recognition reflects her effort and commitment as much as his own.
And what’s next for Shane?
“Continuing my work here in Philadelphia,” he said. “It’s an unmatched fan base. Building and delivering the sports experience they deserve is a responsibility I take very seriously.”