4SE: SMAC Entertainment

Tony Florez

SMAC Entertainment

Constance Schwartz-Morini (co-founder and CEO)
Michael Strahan (co-founder)
FredAnthony Smith (vice president of non-scripted)

Constance Schwartz-Morini was in Los Angeles for the Super Bowl in 2022 when she connected the dots.

Schwartz-Morini, who co-founded SMAC Entertainment in 2010 with Pro Football Hall of Famer and media star Michael Strahan, is the longtime adviser and business associate of Deion Sanders, whom she helped convince to go into coaching. With Sanders entering his third season at the helm of Jackson State’s football program in 2022, Schwartz-Morini sought a new platform for one of sports’ most electric personalities. So she got to talking with Marie Donoghue, Amazon Prime’s vice president of global sports video.

“I just said to her, ‘Listen, there’s got to be something to do now that you guys have ‘Thursday Night Football’ and are getting into football,” Schwartz-Morini recalled. “Prime on Prime — it just doesn’t get to be a better story for a marketer.”

And so one of the most popular docuseries in sports entertainment was born.

“Coach Prime,” a SMAC production, is preparing for its second season as a key tentpole in the production company’s growing portfolio of football-related pieces. There’s also “BS High,” HBO’s documentary on Bishop Sycamore that premiered in August; “The Underdoggs,” an MGM sports comedy movie starring Snoop Dogg with a planned theatrical release in January; and a planned docuseries on the evolution of Black quarterbacks in the NFL that is in production.

“We always talk about how we specialize in the multi-hyphenate,” Schwartz-Morini said, “and that also goes for the productions that we choose to get behind.”

Schwartz-Morini first worked with Strahan in the late 1990s, back when she was with the NFL as a director of television programming and entertainment marketing and he was still wreaking havoc as a New York Giants defensive end. Overlapping on a program about linemen set the foundation for a long-term relationship.

“When we did come together at the end of his career and launch SMAC, it was literally like everything we both learned on the grounds and in our previous employers in our previous lives and that’s just carried over,” said Schwartz-Morini, who has sculpted a sparkling reputation for herself and her production company with projects like “Coach Prime,” which will take a new turn in its upcoming second season with Sanders entering his first season as Colorado’s coach.

In early 2022, Schwartz-Morini brought in another veteran from NFL media, FredAnthony Smith, who had been an original content lead for the league and now leads unscripted show development.

The best show in sports right now might be what Deion Sanders is doing at Colorado, which is perfect timing for SMAC.

“I don’t want to say the stakes are higher because the stakes were as high for him when he was at Jackson State,” Schwartz-Morini said. “But there’s different stakes now because so many people are cheering for him but there are even more people that are rooting against him now. And all that does is just give us more drive and energy to show everybody that he belongs there and he’s making amazing strides and he’s also leading the way to bring African American coaches along with him.” — Erik Bacharach

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