Plugged In: Constance Schwartz, SMAC Entertainment
Constance Schwartz, along with Michael Strahan and Mark Sudack, is a partner in SMAC Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based firm that manages athletes and entertainers. Schwartz began her career as an assistant at the NFL before going to work at former entertainment agency The Firm, where she managed musical artists, including Snoop Dogg. SMAC’s clients include musicians and current and former NFL players.
A lot of the sports people I deal with say, ‘Oh my God, how do you deal with the entertainment side?,’ and the entertainment people are asking, ‘How do you deal with the sports side?’ I say, ‘It’s very simple: You guys are a lot alike; some of you just wear better suits.”
The merger of sports and entertainment: [Previously] there was sports, and then there was entertainment. You were either an athlete or you were an entertainer. … In today’s day and age, especially with the Internet, the access and the kids that are part of this whole digital nation that are now growing up — becoming an entertainer or an athlete, it’s merged. It’s blended. It’s all one.
Athletes and entertainers: The entertainers have learned from the athletes how to take advantage and maximize a brand’s reach, access, support [and] promotion in getting your message across. And also, a charitable component. I think most of these guys when they partner with a brand are also able to support a cause or a charity that is near and dear to their hearts. Athletes are learning it’s OK to have more than just your contractual agent. You should reach out and work with a publicist or a manager, a commercial agent. It’s OK to have a team and it’s OK to help them to allow you to maximize and build your brand, to become a brand. … Just because you have a million Twitter followers doesn’t make you a brand.
On Jay-Z getting into the sports talent rep business: I love it. I think Jay-Z is one of the smartest businessmen and entertainers in the world. For him to capitalize on what he leveraged and built — his empire in the music space — [and] to be able to allow athletes to take advantage of that I think is a win-win.
Will others follow?: I don’t think you will see anyone else really doing that. I mean, look what Jay-Z just pulled off with his record that came out with Samsung. What better example of branding is that? Before his record even came out, he sold a million albums, through a brand. I think it’s different [than other rappers becoming agents in the past]. It is not only him; he has a really smart team around him.
Sports story you’re watching?: I am still hoping and waiting for an NFL team to come to L.A. … I am assuming it would probably be an expansion team, but I hope I do see it. If you look at what L.A. Live has done downtown, it is amazing. They are really working hard to expand that, so I am hoping they can figure out a way to get an NFL team here.