ESPN's Marty Smith Named Night In Venice Grand Marshal

ESPN reporter and host Marty Smith will be grand marshal of the 2024 Night in Venice boat parade on July 20 in Ocean City, N.J. Smith, who owns a home in Ocean City, will be joined by family members for the 69th anniversary of the festive summer event.

Smith is one of the most recognizable personalities in sports media. For nearly 20 years at ESPN, Smith has produced in-depth interviews, vulnerable storytelling, game broadcasting and breaking news across every ESPN platform, and in almost every major sport, including college football and basketball, the NFL, NBA, NASCAR and IndyCar, Formula 1, the horse racing Triple Crown, including the Kentucky Derby, the Masters Tournament and the PGA Tour. He co-hosts “Marty & Mcgee” weekly on the SEC Network, during which he and co-host Ryan McGee meld sports with Southern culture, pop culture, news and nostalgia. Smith's 2019 memoir, “Never Settle: Sports, Family and the American Soul,” is a New York Times bestseller. His latest book, “Sideline CEO: Leadership Principles from Championship Coaches,” has become a standard of the leadership and motivational speaking circuit nationwide.

Smith's wife of 24 years, Lainie (Cocozza), is an Ocean City native, a 1995 graduate of Ocean City High School, and Miss Night In Venice 1995. The Smiths reside in Lake Norman, North Carolina, and have three children, Cambron (18), Mia (15) and Vivian (12). Every June, the Smith family makes the trek north to come back to Ocean City, where they spend the entire summer vacation season in “America's Greatest Family Resort.”  

“It’s great that the Smith family has such close ties with Ocean City, and I’m honored to have Marty as our grand marshal for this year’s Night in Venice,” Mayor Jay Gillian said. “They’ll be right at home on the water for this summer’s spectacular event.” 

The themed boat parade and decorated bayfront home contest provide a chance to be part of the highlight of the summer season in Ocean City. Thousands of spectators line the bayfront, and thousands more attend private parties at homes along the route from the Ocean City-Longport Bridge to Tennessee Avenue. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m., and this year’s theme is “Summertime Vibes: A Tribute to Jimmy Buffett.”  A fireworks display will light up the bay and cap off the festivities on July 20.

Free shuttle transportation will be available and free grandstands will be set up at street ends along the route. ACME Markets and OCNJ Watersports are presenting sponsors for this year’s Night in Venice. For more information on participating in the event or attending, visit or call 609-399-6111. 

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