Falcons’ Smith leaving to run Ohio State’s alumni association

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons marketing chief Jim Smith is leaving the franchise to direct The Ohio State University’s alumni association, according to the school.

“I am incredibly privileged to return to the University that gave me the foundation to be the leader I am today,” Smith said. “It is the place where I met my wife, three of our children were born and my wife’s family is from. Columbus is a special place and I am excited to be returning to Columbus and honored to be selected to lead the alumni association that serves 520,000-plus alumni worldwide.”

Smith, who’s worked for the Falcons since 2004, has been the team’s executive vice president and chief marketing and revenue officer.

Smith will replace the legendary Archie Griffin.

Before joining the Falcons, Smith was the general manager of the Columbus Crew and held previous marketing positions at Ohio State’s athletic department and the World Wrestling Federation.

Griffin, the two-time Heisman Trophy winner, announced that he would return from the position in April.

Smith spent six seasons as the Falcons’ vice president of marketing (2004-09) before being promoted to vice president/chief marketing officer in 2010.

Smith was responsible for all marketing and revenue for the Falcons, new stadium and newly acquired MLS franchise.

He and his team were responsible for designing and selling the premium seating options, personal seat licenses, suites, and sponsorships in the new stadium while continuing to maintain and grow the existing Falcons business.

He recently worked with the NFL office in New York City on a comprehensive brand review that created a new standard for the Falcons brand and put in place innovative brand policies to enhance and expand the club’s overall image both in the Atlanta market and nationally.

In conjunction with this study, Smith developed the award winning “Rise Up” campaign which includes an inspiring television commercial featuring Hollywood star and “A-list” actor Samuel L. Jackson.

Under Smith’s direction, the Falcons set an all-time franchise record for season ticket sales and sponsorship sales for the 2013 season.

Smith directed the Falcons’ celebrations for commemorating their 50th season in 2015. The plan included recognizing some of the 488 season-ticket account holders who have had tickets continuously since the team’s inception in 1966.

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