Matt Ryan has left town and Tom Brady has returned to the NFC South. The Braves have revitalized their championship-defending season and the Hawks are already starting to generate serious buzz with the free agent acquisition of budding star Dejounte Murray. Not to mention, the Georgia Bulldogs begin training camp in a matter of days. All of which would suggest that the Falcons (25-40 over the last four seasons) are fighting to stay relevant in the local market.
But that’s not how Ryan Mucatel, the newly minted senior vice president of marketing communications for AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE), sees things. Mucatel, who joined AMBSE last August after a successful career as COO at New York-based Berk Communications, is well aware of the whimsical nature of pro sports, particularly the NFL, and maintains a bullish outlook for the Falcons’ upcoming season — one that he hopes will culminate in the team’s first playoff appearance since January 2018.
“We are at an incredibly optimistic point in the Falcons’ organization,” says Mucatel in a recent phone interview with the Atlanta Jewish Times. “We are focusing our energy on making sure that our fans know we’re determined to win right now. We have an incredible nucleus of young talent. We have a group of players that have been signed to long-term deals. We have an incredible coach [Arthur Smith], one of the best GMs [Terry Fontenot]. We have one of the highest-rated draft classes from this past year. This is the time for us to be optimistic and to be confident and to generate some energy back into our fanbase.”
For the first time since the George W. Bush administration, Ryan won’t be under center for the Falcons. It’s undoubtedly a tall order to ask either veteran Marcus Mariota or rookie Desmond Ridder to take over for a franchise icon while endearing themselves to the masses.
“Matt Ryan is a legend in Atlanta,” acknowledges Mucatel, whose chief marketing duties include the retail and game day presentation functions, not only for the Falcons but also for Atlanta United FC and Mercedes-Benz Stadium events. “It is definitely hard to lose a franchise quarterback like that. But the reality of it is that sports change, players change. For me and my team, this is an exciting opportunity for us to turn the page, talk about where we’re going, who is going to lead us hopefully to Super Bowls. We need to make sure that we are looking forward, just like Matt is on the [Indianapolis] Colts, and we wish him well.”
Mucatel, a truly delightful and ambitious young man, is certainly looking forward. A visionary in every sense of the word, he is quarterbacking an organization-wide movement to generate cutting-edge digital and social media content that serves to engage a broader swath of fans, particularly those of a younger demographic, while also incorporating team sponsors.
“Atlanta’s changing — it’s one of the fastest growing cities,” Mucatel is quick to point out. “While there’s a huge number of loyal, avid Falcons fans, there’s a lot of people that we have our eyes on to convert into Falcons fans. Sports are cyclical. There’s plenty of attention to go around.”
It helps to have a glass palace like the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, one that will be hosting the College Football Playoff Semifinal (Peach Bowl) this December, as a backdrop for all events. “Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the crown jewel stadium, in my opinion, in the country, certainly in the Southeast,” Mucatel adds. “It is a marvel.”
It’s also reasonably priced — everything from hotdogs to replica jerseys — which is a rarity in the NFL world and a reflection of Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s commitment to fostering community. (Blank, a tireless community activist and philanthropist on both a regional and national level, recently hosted the inaugural Black Sports Business Symposium at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and made a $50 million donation to Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, the largest grant earmarked for family housing for their organization.)
In addition to sharing Blank’s core values of honesty, innovation and genuine empathy, Mucatel also has a strong Jewish background. He was an active member of the Sephardic Jewish Center of Canarsie while growing up in Brooklyn.
And, during Ryan’s childhood in New York City, his father served as the treasurer for the Keter Zion Society of New York, a position that entailed ensuring that Sephardic Jewish families throughout Brooklyn had designated cemetery plots.
This spring, following his daughter, Carly’s, bat mitzvah, the plan is to take her, his two older sons, Jake and Dylan, and his wife, Risa, to Israel for the first time.
For the time being, however, Mucatel has his hands full with his new position.
Accustomed to consulting, engaging customers, working cross-functionally and developing strategic plans through his prior work at Berk and a host of other marketing communications agencies, he is now charged with making executive decisions to optimize brand communications for the Falcons, United and Mercedes-Benz Stadium — all of which fall under the umbrella of AMB Sports and Entertainment, an organization that he is, quite simply, overjoyed to represent.
“It’s a remarkably kind and caring group of people,” Mucatel said. “This has been the most rewarding 10 months of my life, professionally.”
- Atlanta falcons
- David Ostrowsky
- Matt Ryan
- Tom Brady
- NFC South
- Atlanta Hawks
- Dejounte Murray
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Ryan Mucatel
- AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE)
- Berk Communications
- Terry Fontenot
- Arthur Smith
- George W. Bush
- Desmond Ridder
- Marcus Mariota
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium
- Atlanta United FC
- College Football Playoff Semifinal
- Peach Bowl
- Black Sports Business Symposium
- Shepherd Center
- Sephardic Jewish Center of Canarsie
- Keter Zion Society