Jon Smith founded the business carried on by First Artist in 1986 and has overseen the remodelling of the company since its flotation in 2001 as a football agency to its recent current status as a multi-functional, multi-national entertainment, financial, event and sporting group and recently presided over the major equity purchase by Pivot Entertainment New York.
He previously owned a successful record production company which was largely credited, amongst other things, to have been the prime creator of Northern soul in the UK pop market during the 1970’s. At one time he also owned the largest theatre marketing businesses in London and New York. He sold this company to a US conglomerate in 1981 followed by the equally successful sale of his real estate company.
He is responsible for staging many of Britain’s biggest sporting events, including the UK visits of major US sporting bodies, being NFL American Football, NBA Basketball and NHL Ice Hockey. Jon was also Chief Executive of The London Monarchs during their inaugural World Bowl winning season at Wembley. He is one of the recognised spokespersons for the UK sports industry and has raised over £50 million in various forms for sport in the UK over the last few years. Jon is one of only a handful of individuals holding a football agency licence who is also licenced to stage global events under the auspices of FIFA worldwide.
Jon has worked with some of the biggest sports stars in the world such as Diego Maradona and Lord Sebastian Coe, managed the off pitch activities of the England Football Team for 10 years ultimately creating ‘Team England’ which is the
vehicle used by the Football Association and the England Football Team to this date; He was the first commercial representative of the England Cricket Team, once again
managing their off field activities for some 6 years leaving the framework for the Test and County Cricket Board to manage. He also managed the commercial affairs of the Welsh National Rugby Team who did not win one game during his tenure!!
Jon was the first promoter of all the North American sports in the UK (NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL) including the major early NFL games at Wembley – he also owned the London Monarchs (in the World Bowl winning season).
In his role as a promoter, in the past Jon has promoted Mikhail Gorbachev’s UK Lecture Tour and a host of other major events both in the UK and in the USA, he is also known for his own motivational talks where he relates to difficulties he has had to overcome to become the person he is today.
Jon is a fellow of The Institute of Directors. He also is a patron of the British Stammering Association and founder and trustee of the Lee Smith Foundation.
In 2011 Jon became one of only 180 people to complete a marathon at the North Pole.
With his all round knowledge Jon is a popular TV and Radio guest and has regularly appears on BBC News, ITN News at Ten, Newsnight, Sky News, Bloomberg, ABC, NBC, CBS and various TV networks around the world. During 2012 he presented The Forum on the SKY platform for Sports Tonight Live. The Forum was presented live and took the model of
‘Question Time for Sports’ with a panel of 3 guests and live input from members of the public via Skype or phone.