A decade ago, Michael Strahan had just retired from the NFL and focused on transitioning into a media career as a football analyst for Fox Sports.
Today, Strahan is all over TV — as co-anchor of “Good Morning America” and host of “$100,000 Pyramid” in addition to his Fox Sports duties — and he runs the bustling management-production company SMAC Entertainment with longtime business partner Constance Schwartz.
Welcome to Strictly Business, Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. In this week’s episode, Cynthia Littleton talks with Strahan and Schwartz about the growth of the company they founded in 2011. The company has grown quickly to 13 full-time employees, enough to convince the partners to buy their own building in Los Angeles. But Strahan assures that the company motto remains: “hustle like you’re broke.”
Strahan and Schwartz are busy developing and producing a wide range of content, from the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Sports Awards to game shows (TBS’ “The Joker’s Wild”) to documentaries for HBO, ESPN, and the NFL Network. SMAC is also the management home to talent ranging from Wiz Khalifa to Erin Andrews to Deion Sanders. SMAC has expanded into a line of Strahan-branded apparel in partnership with JC Penney, with more to come.
When the company started, Strahan acknowledges, “we couldn’t get a call back — couldn’t get a sniff,” he says. “To now be able to pick up the phone and get a response from anyone” is gratifying, he says.
Schwartz is a former NFL marketing executive who befriended Strahan during his playing days and became his manager after he retired from the league.
“I couldn’t have gotten a better education than starting out in the National Football League,” Schwartz says. “I didn’t get an MBA, but I got my MBA there.”
As quickly as SMAC has grown, its sole owners are Strahan and Schwartz.
“We have taken no money from the outside,” Strahan says. “We put most of the money we’ve made in this business right back into it. We want to grow it.”
Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring comedian/actor/producer Kevin Hart, Marvel marketing guru Mindy Hamilton, and CNBC’s David Faber. A New episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.