President, Harlem Globetrotters International
Howard Smith is President of the Harlem Globetrotters International, a portfolio company of Atlanta based Herschend Enterprises. Currently celebrating the 94th season, the Harlem Globetrotters are known as the “Ambassadors of Goodwill” for their legacy of breaking down barriers and advancing the game of basketball worldwide. The Globetrotters have dazzled and dunked their way into the hearts of over 150 million fans globally, performing in 124 countries and territories on six continents. The team is unique in the world of sports - showcasing ball handling wizardry, athleticism and trick shots, plus unequaled on-court comedy and fan interaction. Smith led the effort to establish a new corporate headquarters in Atlanta, GA and is charged with driving the growth and expansion of this legendary sports and entertainment franchise worldwide. Smith serves on the Herschend Enterprises executive leadership committee.
Prior to joining the Globetrotters in his current capacity, Smith was SVP, Content Strategy for Herschend Enterprises, the largest privately-owned theme park operator in the US with 26 attractions in 10 states, entertaining millions of guests. Smith was responsible for developing growth strategies through the organization’s TV, film and licensing initiatives and also served on the board of directors of the Harlem Globetrotters. Smith forged a strategic partnership with Jim Henson Studios to co-executive produce Herschend’s first-ever animated TV series SPLASH and BUBBLES premiered on PBS in fall 2016.
Prior to joining Herschend, Smith spent 27 years with Viacom in several key senior executive roles. Most recently he was Executive Vice President Nickelodeon Recreation based in New York City, where he was the chief architect in creating a global integrated live entertainment division that transformed the business. Smith solidified Nickelodeon’s presence in the theme park industry, established its niche in the hotel industry, launched the company’s first-ever family cruises and produced 15 touring theatrical productions.
Prior to joining Nickelodeon, he worked in London, England as Director of Network Development for MTV Europe, where he was responsible for launching MTV in 18 countries and negotiating cable and satellite household distribution for Viacom’s first international network. He opened multinational sales and marketing offices in the Netherlands, UK, Italy, France and Germany and navigated the many diverse European cultures and dynamic business climates.
Beginning his career at Turner Broadcasting Systems in Atlanta, GA, Smith negotiated cable distribution deals for CNN, WTBS and Headline News with cable affiliates throughout the eastern regions of the US.
Smith is an active community and industry supporter and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fox Theater in Atlanta and the Board of Trustees of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. Smith graduated from Washington and Lee University with a B.A. degree in Mathematics and studied international economics in Paris, France. Smith and his wife Lisa live in Atlanta, GA.